Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What Am I Thinking?!?

I'm about ready to begin a new endeavor; one that will require a lot of time and planning and work and dedication. No, I'm not having another child - I'm planting a garden. A vegetable garden, to be exact.

Now, this is not the first time I've attempted this. In our old house, I had a small garden - nothing fancy, a few tomato plants, a pepper plant or two, some herbs. What I was able to harvest (read - what the raccoons and birds didn't get) was yummy. This time, though, I'm going all out. I'll be planting: tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, onions, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, peppers, spinach, cherry tomatoes, radishes, parsley, mint and rosemary.

Now, I don't have acres of land to plant in. I live in the suburbs and have a fairly small yard, once you take out the space our screened-in porch takes up. So I'll be putting the garden inside the screening. There it will be protected from the local wildlife, be less exposed to pests and more convenient to water. How am I going to grow (hopefully!) all this inside my porch, you ask? Square-foot gardening! Believe it or not, all of what I listed above can be grown in just two 4' x 4' plots. At least, if you know what you're doing! I don't, so I don't know if I'll be able to pull it off, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

I'd love to be able to just step out onto the porch and pick the ingredients of a wonderful salad. To slice into a nice, juicy, red tomato - one that was truly vine-ripened instead of being picked to early and shipped half-way across the country. To go out and snip some fresh mint and parsley when I want to make tabbouleh for my hubby.

So one of my top to-do's for this week is to go to the store and get the materials I need for this project - something to frame out the plots with, the soil and fertilizers, seeds and transplants. I'm really excited. I've been wanting to do this for a while. Foolishly, in the past I followed directions on the seed packets and have just thrown things in the ground whenever the mood hit. But this time I've really researched the whole "gardening in South Florida" thing. It's a totally different kind of gardening. I''ll be trying to get the whole thing set up this week and then "solarizing" the garden to kill off nematodes for about 5 weeks or so. I hope to have things in the ground by mid-September. I'll post pictures if anything actually grows.

Paula Deen Tuesday

Ok, no, I'm not really going to call every Tuesday, "Paula Deen Tuesday." Because that would be a little over-the-top. Like I'm obsessed or something. And I'm not. But I did happen to spot and pick up her new biography at the library this morning. See, if I truly was obsessed, I would have been willing to pay for it!

On to today's recipes. Once again, I struggled between posting the recipe that looked yummiest to me and one that is served in Paula's restaurant. So it's another two-fer! The first recipe is one that is served up at The Lady and Sons in Savannah. It sounds really interesting and I haven't tried it yet, so if anyone does, please stop back by and let me know what you think. According to the cookbook, it's served with most of the seafood dishes.


Georgia Cracker Salad
Serves 6


1 sleeve Saltine crackers
1 large tomato, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped


Crush crackers. Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately.


So it sounds really easy and all. I just can't wrap my mind around the ingredients. But I'm serving fish this week, so maybe I'll give it a try and let you know what I think.


Next up is the recipe that sounded yummiest (and now that I've used it twice, let me just clarify that, yes, that IS a word!). Because anything that has snow peas in it has to be a winner, right?


Oriental Chicken Salad
Serves 6


4 cooked skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 1/2 cup snow peas
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chopped celery
One 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained


Combine chicken, bean sprouts, peas and scallions. Make dressing using oil, soy sauce, ginger, salt and sugar. Add to chicken mixture. Add celery and water chestnuts and mix well. Serve chilled.


Next week, we'll move on to entree dishes. First up will be fish and shellfish. Hmm, I just had a good idea. Instead of me selecting a recipe to post, what about if I give three options and you (all ten of you who read this - ha!) vote on which one you'd like to see.


Here are the options:
  • Savannah Crab Cakes
  • Scallops Charleston
  • Red Snapper Stuffed with Crabmeat

Ok, so it will be one of those three yummy dishes. Which one is up to you. And if Leeann is the only one who votes (because she is a bit of a Paula Deen fan, too) then don't complain if you don't get the recipe you wanted to see!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Marriage Monday


I'm still working through my 30 Day Challenge over here - better late than never, I say! My challenge to myself was to allow the little things to roll off my back during our vacation. But this has radically changed my life and our relationship. The thing that I was most challenged with during our vacation was my husband's decision to not move. This was something very painful for me to accept, but, miraculously, God softened my heart and worked in me over the past few weeks. Somehow, it's ok.

And now, I find myself really scrutinizing myself constantly, asking if what I am beginning to get upset about is really that important. Usually, it's not. I have been somehow able to apply what I have known for so long: that respecting and honoring my husband is much more important that putting our relationship in jeopardy over petty issues. Now, I still struggle with one issue - he's late for everything, while I am punctuality incarnate. I'm working on it, but for now we continue to go to church in two separate cars!

This goes very much along the lines of what Lynn talked about in her post regarding the importance of respecting your husband. In fact, if you are looking for more help on this subject I very highly recommend reading the book "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn. It delves into this subject and many more regarding the inner lives of men. I read it with my jaw on the ground most of the time. Now, it contained information that my husband had been trying to communicate to me for years, but Ms. Feldhahn puts in a way that the female psyche can understand it.

So the bottom line for me is that God is finally working on me to help me understand my husband's need for respect, as well as the importance of not always having to be right (don't get too excited, Mom! This is specifically in regards to Hubby!). My marriage is more important than any point I might try to get across.


"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [1] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..." Phillipians 2:3-7
Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Little Missionary

We are busily preparing Emily for a week (ok, 5 days) at our church's Middle School Mission Trip. This is a great opportunity for middle-schoolers to do a mission trip without going to Papua New Guinea or somewhere else where they could catch exotic diseases. What they do is show up Monday morning and spend the week in our youth facility until Friday evening. Every morning they do a devotional together, then spend the day doing really cool service projects here in South Florida. Last year, they did beach evangelism, ran a camp day at an orphanage, cleaned up a widow's home, planted a garden for another widow, served at a homeless shelter and more. Then, each evening they do something fun - go for a pool party at someone's home, have a movie night, go on a cruise on the bay, etc.

I think that my children live in such a upscale world (even though we are very middle-class, our church is in a fairly wealthy area; consequently, many of our congregants are pretty well-off) that it's not often they see the desperate need right here in their own hometown. Miami is one of the poorest cities in America. This week opens their eyes to the opportunities to serve right here at home. No one has to leave the world where they live to make a difference.

So, if you think of it, please offer up a prayer for Emily and the other kids who are participating. Pray for their hearts to be touched, pray for a spirit of love and compassion, and pray for their safety. And pray for me! I'll miss her!
Saturday, July 28, 2007

Being Happy at Home, Part II

Moving on to the second way of interpreting being happy at home, today we'll look at some ideas for being content to stay home, rather than going out and spending money when you or the kids are bored. Here are some ideas I have:

  • Watch a sunset together
  • Go for a family walk
  • Go to a local park or school grounds and play basketball or HORSE
  • Turn on the sprinklers and run through them together
  • Put up a tent and have a backyard camp out, complete with roasting marshmallows
  • Have a water balloon or water gun fight
  • Hold a karaoke contest
  • Have a board game tournament over the course of several days
  • Teach your kids to play a card game other than Go Fish
  • Play dominoes together
  • Make popcorn balls or some other special treat together
  • Plan a "trip" to another country - find music and maybe a video at the library, and cook up a meal with that country's cuisine. Maybe you could even decorate and dress up!
  • Spread a blanket in the yard and cloud watch...
  • Or read a book to your children...
  • Or have a picnic
  • Hang a bird feeder and enjoy seeing your new visitors
  • Plant a vegetable garden and make it a family project
  • Teach your kids to cook
  • Learn how to use a compass then go and use your skills
  • Play Frisbee at night
  • Try to break a world record
  • Act out a play with costumes and make up
  • Ask a grandparent about their wedding day or some of their most favorite fun moments
  • Ask each other what your goal in life is
  • Attack a household chore as a team then and celebrate as a team
  • Build a fort with pillows from the couch
  • Buy a telescope and stargaze together
  • Go for a walk together
  • Go to the playground
  • Have a lemonade sale
  • Make up a funky dance with your children
  • Make up some instruments and start a band
  • Play Twister
  • Research your family tree
  • Try to get as many family members together in one place
  • Have a paper airplane distance contest
  • Make a house out of card board boxes
  • Next time you see a rainbow, stop and really admire it
  • Play jacks or pickup sticks
  • Positive daydreaming
  • Sing even if you can't
  • The next time it's really windy, find a safe place to lean into the wind
  • Watch the moonrise
  • Build a tree house or fort
  • Get all the children to perform a skit
  • Have a back yard talent show
  • Host a yard sale as a family - use the proceeds to do something as a family
  • Make a slip and slide in your back yard
  • Make an entertaining phone answering-machine message
  • Put a pond in your yard - with fish
  • Wash the Dog

These are just some ideas I had - I'm sure there are tons more out there. Please share if you have a great idea!

The idea is to make your home a haven for your family. You want home to be the center of the family's life - but it's only going to happen if it's a place the family enjoys. Home needs to be more than just a place to eat, sleep and change clothes. It needs to be the place we can go to to escape the pressures of daily life and to renew and recharge.

And added bonus? If you have the "coolest" home on the block, the kids will want to hang out there. You'll get to know your children's friends and be able to have a godly influence on them as well. They'll enjoy being in your company because they will know that, in your home, they are valued and allowed to have good, clean fun!

Time is Precious

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am! Psalm 39:4


I learned today that a couple from our church were killed this week in a motorcycle accident. I was friendly with the woman, but had never met her husband. They were on vacation and it was a tragic accident out of the blue. It has made me think about how none of us have any promises of how much time we have - only that our time is limited.

I hope to learn from Ben and Linda's sudden and tragic death. All the things that I want to do and be - it's time to do and be them already. I have no guarantees even for one more tomorrow. Ben and Linda died doing something they loved to do - travelling cross country on their motorcycle. I need to step up my life and live it to the fullest. My 101 in 1001 list? It's time to really get cracking on it!

I need to stop wasting away precious time that is a gift from God. At least their deaths can have some small good thing come out of it.

Tim McGraw - Live Like You Were Dying

Friday, July 27, 2007

Being happy at home

There are two ways you can understand being happy at home. The first would be to be happy with your calling as a wife and mother. This is hard for some women, particularly women who have had careers outside the home and who do not get a sense of real accomplishment or fulfillment from being a stay-at-home mother. I understand this. There are no accolades, no paychecks or bonuses. There is no annual review wherein you are told what a good job you are doing. Most of what you accomplish throughout the day will have to be repeated tomorrow - meals to cook, dishes to wash, floors to sweep, laundry to do. There is often no lasting thing that you can point to and say, "I did that."

But, oh Christian mother, your accomplishments are lasting. And they will far outlast any building you could build, or book you could write, or any other thing you can accomplish at any other job in the world. For you see, you are raising a whole new generation of disciples. If you can catch the vision for this, you will be a far happier person. You will understand that the time you have with your children is fleeting. You have but a mere 18 years (truthfully less, because they need to make decisions for themselves even younger) to impress upon them the ways of the Lord. There are many other practical things, as well, that they need to learn to be responsible, productive and happy adults.

As a mother, you have more input into the life of your child than any other being on this planet. I've seen studies recently where peers and media play a bigger role in a child's decision-making than parents. This ought not be so! If you can guide your child, gently but firmly, into learning how to think through decisions, you will be richly rewarded. Too often today, young people make the mistake of seeking out immediate gratification or peer acceptance. While, of course, everyone will make mistakes, you are in a position to help your child avoid many of them. But you have to have built a relationship of trust and respect with your child so that they can hear what you are saying.

So, you see, being home to build that relationship with your children is very important. If all their time is spent with peers and media, that will be where they go for guidance. I know that it's not tangible, but it is eternal. What we mothers do does matter. Every little thing we've picked up off the floor, every nose we wipe and diaper we change, every school assignment we help with - all of it - is all part of a process of raising a godly, mature adult. That is a matter of vital importance! If you allow it (though it may take time), you can find more fulfillment in that than in any other vocation on earth.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about the other kind of being happy at home - being content to stay in, fun things to do. I'll share some ideas and I hope you'll share some, too!

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17
Thursday, July 26, 2007

The "I AM" Online Bible Study

(For some reason, I can't get paragraph breaks to work right this morning. I apologize that things are kind of running together. For clarity of reading, every other paragraph will be this color.)
For some time now, I haven't been involved in a serious Bible study with other women. Homeschooling has had to take precedence over outside activities. But I have such wonderful memories of my times in ladies' Bible studies. Not only was it a great time of fellowship, but it was an amazing time of growth as I studied the Word and several books aimed at helping me learn to be a more godly wife and mother.
Happily, I have stumbled upon The Preacher's Wife, who leads an online Bible study focusing on the Moses and the Israelites as they progress in their own journey towards The Promised Land - both physically and spiritually. I am WAY behind, 11 weeks to be exact, but I'm going to start at the beginning so that I don't miss any of the goodness! Don't worry - you're supposed to start at the beginning! And so, here are my thoughts and answers for Lesson 1 - "I AM - Your Beauty."
Wow! This was a great lesson about God placing each one of us in the right place and time for use for His purposes. Lisa says this, "I believe with all my heart that our entire lives are a series of unrecurring incidents in which we have the opportunity to use our 'yes' for God's fame. Just as Mordecai stated (paraphrase), 'If you say 'no', God will raise up a deliverer from somewhere else. But who knows that you were placed in your position for such a time as this?' Esther could have said no. We can say no. But heaven help me if I cause my God to resort to Plan B. I want to be His 'go to' girl -the one He knows will say yes, Lord! May it be done to me as You have said! 'Hmmm, I think I'll call forth Lisa in this situation..I can trust her with My glory.' Let it be, Lord. Let it be." (Italics mine)
This was such a wake-up call to me! I do want to be a woman that God can look at and know that I am ready and willing to do what he asks me to do. I believe I have let myself get bogged down with "life stuff" that I'm not really allowing myself to hear his voice, let alone be ready to spring into action for him. I hope to change that.
  • Are there any circumstances or relationships in your life where you can see God has intentionally placed you to be a light for Him? You know, I have neighbors all around me who I could be ministering to, but I don't. One set of neighbors doesn't speak to us (not because of anything we've done - they've just been unfriendly since they moved in). One set of neighbors drives me crazy so I end up being angry at them most of the time. One woman just kicked out her live-in boyfriend and is lonely. Another set is Catholic and very worldly. All of these people are in my life and I should be reaching out to them with God's love. I'm going to begin praying today for opportunities to share his love with them.

  • Can you honestly describe yourself as a woman with a 'yes' in her spirit? I don't think at this point I could honestly say I have been. I've been too preoccupied with my schedule, my busy life, to allow myself to be sidetracked. And recently, I've really been learning to step back from things to allow me to focus on the things I know God wants me to focus on, so I've been saying "no" to almost everything. Perhaps I need to be more careful and prayerful so that I don't miss his plans.

  • Are you in an emotionally and spiritually healthy place today? If so, what will you do with your series of unrecurring events? Will you commit to ask for spiritual eyes to see opportunities to defend a weaker sister? Emotionally, I think I am in a healthy place right now. Spiritually, well, not as much. I do feel as though I'm growing more in the last couple of months than I have been in a long time. I think part of that has to do with the blogging community, which I have begun to immerse myself in. There are so many wonderful, godly women out there I'm finding a lot of encouragement and teaching. But also I think God is working in my heart in new ways, helping me to understand his plans and his sovereignty and learning to trust him.

I've really enjoyed this lesson. I don't know if I can wait a week to do the next one, so you may see another entry soon! If you'd like to join in, head on over to Lisa's blog and sign up!

Thankful Thursday

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. " Psalm 28:7


Iris over at Sting My Heart has a weekly chance for us to stop and count our blessings. What a wonderful idea! So often we spend our time thinking about what's wrong and what we don't have. But, really, God has blessed us with so much, regardless of our financial situation or what type of home we live in or any material things like that. Here's my list of things I'm thankful for today:

I'm thankful for my husband, who is like a rock. I'm so mercurial and ruled by my emotions, but he is calm and steady in almost every situation. When I'm overwrought with worry or angst, he reminds me to be calm and trust in the Lord. I'm like a ship's sail - I go where the wind takes me. He is like the rudder of a ship - steadfastly pushing us in the right direction.

I'm thankful for my church. It's been through some difficult times in the past few years, and yet it is still a place where my family and I can go and love and be loved. It is still a place where we can go and hear the Word of God preached. It's a place where my children want to be, as opposed to having to be drug there kicking and screaming.

I'm thankful for our new pastor, who will begin ministering at our church in a few weeks. We have been without a senior pastor for almost a year and a half now and I'm so excited about the man who is coming to step in. I believe he will bring us much needed stability and peace, as well as fresh vision and excellent teaching.

I'm thankful, most of all, for the salvation given to me through Jesus' death on the cross. I am a sinner. Yet, through Christ's sacrifice and willingness to bear the penalty for my sin, I can come boldly into the presence of a holy and just God and be, not just accepted, but loved and welcomed in! It's truly amazing and humbling to think that the Creator of the universe cares enough about us to know the hairs on our heads.

So, what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Surrender

I've been thinking about writing this post for a week or two now. It's just hard for me to write it. Hard to know how to put into words what I'm thinking and feeling. I guess the place I want to start is about 15 years ago.

I had returned a couple years earlier from working in the mission field in Austria. I was assigned to work with refugees, mainly from Eastern Europe. During my time there, I developed a real heart for Romanians and for all that they had been through during the brutal reign of Ceaucescu. When I left Austria, I always planned to either return to Austria and work with refugees again, or actually make my way to Romania to live. So when, two years later, God clearly told me that I was going to marry Hubby it was a shock to me. Don't get me wrong - I was thrilled to marry such a wonderful man and have been very happy with him for the last 15 years. But still, it meant the death of my dream.

But I knew that God's ways are always best. While I only see a tiny fragment of time, God sees the whole span of it and knows how each little strand is interwoven with each other strand. So, while it was painful, I let that dream go. Still, to this day, I get a pang in my heart whenever I hear anything about Romania.

Well, I've had another dream that I think God is telling me to let go of. If you've read through this blog, you'll know that a big goal of mine is to move out of Florida. I just don't think it's going to happen. But you know what? I think I'm ok with that. (That was really hard to write!) I can't explain it, but somehow God has made it ok with me if I have to live here in Miami for the rest of my life. I'm not happy about it, not by far. But I know that I can trust God and that makes it ok. In Jeremiah 29:11 God promises his people, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." See, if I didn't have the assurance that God knows what he's doing infinitely more than I do, I would be a mess right now.

But just like my life with Hubby has been a life of joy, even though it wasn't what I had originally planned, my life here in Florida can be that - if I allow it. If I insist on getting MY way, I can continue to live in misery and make my husband and children miserable right along with me. Or, I can choose to live a happy life, dealing with the problems and irritations of Miami as they come along, but still living joyfully in Christ and making our home a refuge from all that I hate about this place.

Now, just to clarify, moving out of Miami is not completely out of the question. We are considering other parts of Florida (any part which still seems to be part of the United States would work for me!). But I'm not going to push for my will anymore. I'll wait for God to move. Because unless he leads us somewhere, I don't want to go anyways.

There's a song that beautifully describes this death of a dream when it becomes clear it's not what God wants. It's "Surrender" by Barlow Girl. A video of the song is below, but here are the lyrics:


My hands hold safely to my dreams

Clutching tightly not one has fallen

So many years I've shaped each one

Reflecting my heart showing who I am

Now you're asking me to show

What I'm holding oh so tightly

Can't open my hands can't let go

Does it matter?Should I show you?Can't you let me go?


Surrender, surrender you whisper gently

You say I will be free

I know but can't you see?

My dreams are me. My dreams are me


You say you have a plan for me

And that you want the best for my life

Told me the world had yet to see

What you can do with one

That's committed to Your calling

I know of course what I should do

That I can't hold these dreams forever

If I give them now to You

Will You take them away forever?

Or can I dream again?

Surrender

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oh, the agony!!

This is just too darn hard, people! I don't think I can do it. I know that I promised that I would give you both a Paula Deen salad and soup recipe today, but they all look so good I've been agonizing all week over which to give you. Therefore, I am forced to instead give you two soup recipes today and maybe two salad recipes next week. Yes, I accept checks! Thank you, thank you...

Anyhoo, what I'm gonna do is give the recipe that looks the yummiest to me first. The second recipe listed will be one served at The Lady and Sons restaurant. The "Lori's Choice" award goes to (drum roll please!): Shrimp Bisque!! You know, someone brings this every year to VBS (which everyone knows you only go to for the food!!) and it's TO DIE FOR!! I am so excited to have the recipe for it that I could conceivably make a batch up and eat the whole thing by myself. Not that I would actually do that. Really. Let's change the subject - here's the recipe:

Shrimp Bisque
One 10 3/4-oz. can cream of mushroom soup
One 10 3/4-oz. can cream of chicken soup
Two 12-oz. cans evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound cooked shrimped, peeled and deveined, chopped
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco
1/4 cup sherry, or to taste

In top of double boiler, heat soups, milk and butter over boiling water. Add shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Stir in sherry to taste. Continue heating until desired temperature. Great served alone or over steamed rice.

Now, the other soup option I have for you today looks just as yummy. It's a great looking recipe for Tomato Dill Soup. And here it is:

Tomato Dill Soup
3 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes (or one 28-oz. can)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/3 to 1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & coarsely ground pepper to taste

In large pot, mix all ingredients together except heavy cream, parsley, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, until tomatoes are tender. Add cream, parsley and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer about 10 minutes more.

And so there we have it. Next Tuesday, I'll feature a salad recipe, or three or four if I can't make up my mind again.
Monday, July 23, 2007

Well, wasn't that fun!

Ok, let me just start off by saying that I was less than impressed with our new pediatrics practice. First upon arrival I'm told that the doctor Emily had an appointment with had a baby last Wednesday and isn't there. Um, couldn't someone have called her appointments to reschedule given that there was 2 more business days before the weekend? After I complained they got her in to see another woman, who I actually liked very much. But the nursing staff and office staff left much to be desired. I stood at the desk for 5 minutes before they even looked at me. They didn't communicate well, so I had no idea where to go or what to do. They were impatient and gruff. I don't think it's going to be a good match, but one woman said they were crazy a) due to being one doctor down (it's a huge practice), b) it's Monday, which is their busiest day and c) school starts soon so kids are coming in for their forms and exams to start school. We were there for three hours!! I'm going to give it one more try, but if we are treated like we were today, we'll have to start looking somewhere else.

Otherwise, it's been a pretty good day. We had a huge storm hit just minutes after we got home. I love being in our cozy, safe home during a thunderstorm. It just makes me feel so snug. So now I'm off to tackle some of those "to-do's" on my list. I promise tomorrow will be more interesting. Don't forget I'll have a couple of Paula Deen's recipes up for you, plus I have a few other thoughts bouncing around my brain I might be able to get into coherent sentences to share with you!

Random Things of Life

I have no deep thoughts to offer today, so here's just a few scintillating tidbits of what's going on here in our cozy, little home:

  • Our associate pastor announced this morning that he would be leaving our church in November to pastor another church out-of-state. This man has held our church together throughout some very hard things the past few years and, unfortunately, hasn't really gotten the recognition he deserves for his efforts. Although our new senior pastor will be arriving in 3 weeks, it's still very hard to see Craig go. He's a great man and he will be missed.
  • Tomorrow I'm taking the kids in for their annual check-ups. Normally, this wouldn't merit any special notice, but we are starting with new pediatricians as our insurance dropped our previous one (who we loved!). Did you catch that I said pediatricians - plural? That's because we were assigned to one doctor, an older gentleman, and my daughter specifically requested that she start seeing a woman. I guess she's growing up, huh? I don't blame her. I can remember being mortified when I was younger that I had to wear one of those little paper robes and have a male doctor examine me. Oh, no, wait. That was last year! Anyways, they are being really good sports about it since they both know they are in for major shots, since the previous pediatrician let them off easy last year.
  • My to-do list for the week is a crazy patchwork of stuff - little things that I've been ignoring that are finally bugging me so much I have to take care of them. When, oh when will I learn to just do things as soon as I think about them? It's such a crazy looking list because it's made up of all these silly little things that would probably take a few minutes each. So I want to knock all those little ones out quickly. But then I have a few bigger ones I want to tackle as well - cleaning out the garage and buying a bunch of cinder blocks for the frame of my garden (more on that later!). So it will be a busy week coming up!

Wasn't that all just mind-blowing?

Ahem, you there. Yes, you! Wake up! You're drooling on your keyboard!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Solitude

This is a world full of busy-ness. Demands on our time and attention fill our days. Even as a stay-at-home mother, perhaps even more so than others, there is very little time when I am quiet and at peace. Someone is always needing something. Whether it's my child needing help with math, or the neighbor wanting to chat (and chat and chat...), my husband calling from work with a request, or the television demanding my attention by its constant siren call, the end result is that my mind doesn't often get the chance to be still and reflect upon the deeper things of life. Many of my days go by in a blur and I can't often pinpoint what I have accomplished, even though I know that the work of mothering is one of the highest callings.

And yet, solitude is, for me at least, a strongly felt need. When I have not had the opportunity to spend some time alone, my attitude changes. I become short-tempered. I can feel myself walking, no, stomping on eggshells. This is not to say that I don't truly love my family and am grateful for all the time we have together. As a homeschooling mom, my children are generally with me 24/7. That, to me, is one of the blessings of homeschooling. You see, I truly enjoy spending time with my kids. Oh, sure, we have our days when we all get on each other's nerves, but for the most part, we enjoy each other's company.

I've been reading a wonderful book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh called Gift From the Sea. It is a book of reflections on the life of a woman - all women, really. One of the first chapters addresses this very issue. While women are instinctively givers, somehow the constant little bits of giving (like Chinese water torture!) of ourselves drains us more than performing larger acts of service. Running children around from place to place, unending piles of laundry, the endless cycle of preparing meals and cleaning up after meals - it all leaves us exhausted and with very little to show for our efforts. This is where solitude comes in.

"The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life." Anne Morrow Lindbergh, A Gift from the Sea

I think this is the key - a rhythm, as Mrs. Lindbergh puts it. Finding, no, making the time for solitude is crucial in the life of all women, I would say. I am blessed that my husband understands this and often provides me with these opportunities to be alone. But if you are not in the same situation, you will have to make this happen for you. Whether it be scraping up enough money to pay a babysitter for a few hours a month, or planning some quiet time after the children are in bed, I encourage you to make the time. It will renew your soul and recharge your batteries. It will strengthen you at your very core, making you more able to meet the needs of your family.
Saturday, July 21, 2007

Smart Habit Saturday



Well, after a two-week break for vacation, I'm back to report on the smart habits I've been working on. It's been really good to have a goal to work towards each week.

Goal #1 - Walk 30 minutes a day. Well, I haven't necessarily walked 30 minutes a day, but on most of the days, I've either done the walking or swam for 30 minutes. Which is a MUCH more pleasant option when it's 94 degrees with 792% humidity! Seriously, when I have walked this week, it's been miserable. I think I'm changing Goal #1 to "30 minutes of exercise each day" and leave it at that.

Goal #2 - Take daily vitamins. Now this is something i can report that I'm doing well on! I've been taking a multi-vitamin daily. I think I should probably add calcium or something else on top of it, but I'll need to research exactly what the multi-vitamin I'm taking gives and what I still need.

Goal #3 (New) - For this week, the habit I'd like to work on is spending 1/2 hour a day on streamlining our home. By this I mean de-cluttering and re-organizing. This would be a reachable goal and would go a long way to helping me reach my overall goal of simplifying our life.

If you'd like to see other women's goals to be inspired by them, check out Smart Habit Saturday at The Lazy Organizer. It's a great source of ideas and encouragement!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Calgon, take me away!

This has been one of those days that I'd like to get back into my bed and start all over. For some reason, both of my normally even-tempered kids have been having super-emotional days. Most of my day has been spent going from one to the other comforting them.

First they fought over a book Emily needed to read for school. Daniel was just kidding around by hiding it from her, but she over-reacted and jumped on him to grab it. Then he retaliated by sneaking up behind her and hurting her about 5 minutes later. This is UNHEARD of in this home and I disciplined him severely. Now they were both crying. Emily was crying from the pain of whatever he did to her (still not sure what it was) and Daniel was in tears for about an hour, initially from shame at being disciplined and then at true remorse for having hurt his sister.

Once that drama settled down, we began our schoolwork. Emily has decided she'd like to take a more independent route and do her studies on her own. I think that's a great idea, so we wrote out all her assignments for the day and she set to work. While I was working with Daniel, she asked me a few questions about her assignment - searching for answers to given questions about India in the encyclopedia. And suddenly, she burst into tears! She starts shouting about how she's so stressed out and she doesn't know what to do. I go over and she's trying to answer all the questions at once, plus she has her grammar sheet out and she's working on that at the same time! I explained to her about skimming the article, then going through the questions (they are in order with the encyclopedia article). She still was just sobbing about being under so much pressure. I don't know if it's a hormonal thing (I suspect it is), but it took me almost 45 minutes to calm her down.

Finally this afternoon, I figured some good outside activity would be good for them, I kicked them out to get in the pool. It's been so hot and they haven't wanted to leave the a/c, so they haven't been in all week. They aren't outside 2 minutes when I hear screams. Emily had tried to push Daniel in the pool but somehow he had slipped in vertically and scraped up his entire ribcage. So he's crying, she's feeling horrible - so it's another drama scene.

Add to all this that we are without a car this week, so we are all feeling a little cabin fever. I'm sure if I could pick them up and head to the library or the movies, we'd all feel a little better.

But that wouldn't be as fun and exciting, now, would it?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ancient Paths

Just in case you don't scrupulously examine every square inch of my blog each and every day (where is your devotion, people?!?), I'd like to point out that I've added a scripture verse along the side. Here it is:

Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16

I love this verse! So often in our modern world we discard the old in place of the new, flashy, improved ideas/products/methods. But is that really a good idea? Time-tested ideas are generally right. But in the natural human quest to "improve the wheel," have we lost much of the wisdom of our ancestors? Here are just a few areas that I can think of:

1) Teen years - Do you realize that the expectation of teen age rebellion is a relatively new concept? In ancient cultures (and even in some still today), this was unheard of. Even the very phrase "teenager" is a new idea, in the grand scale. The idea has only been around since the 1940's. Before, you moved from childhood to adulthood around the age of 14-15 years old. Throughout history, young people have made an impact on our world. Just a few examples:

  • Joan of Arc (16 at the time of freeing the French from English invaders)
  • David Farragut (given command of a ship at age 12 during the War of 1812, later the senior officer of the Navy during the Civil War)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (wrote his first work at 5 and by the time he was 18 had written more than a dozen major works)
  • King Tut (Pharaoh of Egypt who died at the age of 18)
  • John Quincy Adams (14 at the time of being sent to Russia as an ambassador)
  • Vladimir Bukovsky (a teenager whose activities on behalf of the human rights movement in the Soviet Union landed him in prison)

History is full of young people who have ruled nations, fought for civil rights, created masterpieces. And yet today, we hold no higher expectations for most of our teenagers than to stay out of trouble. I believe that people rise to the expectation to which they are held. When we expect our children to be mature, respectful and responsible, we have a great possibility of reaching that goal.

2) Education - Public education has only been around in its current form since the mid-1830's. Now before you jump all over me and talk about the hardships in the life of a child before public education (no child labor laws, etc), let me clarify that I am not stating that we should go back to that. However, the vast majority of children were educated at home throughout history until about 175 years ago. It's funny to me when people think of homeschooling as something new, when, in all actuality, it's "school" that is new! While I understand that homeschooling is not an option for everyone, I do think it provides opportunities that schooling does not. I realize that there are some things that my children might miss out on not being in school - prom, graduation ceremonies, big science labs, team sports, etc. But these days, a good support group can provide all of this. But they are also missing a lot of the negatives.

In fact, a friend constantly tells me my kids aren't exposed to real life. I recently read something that made sense to me. It's really kids in school who are being kept away from real life. They are being closed up in a building with mainly children their own age and, usually, their own socio-economic class. Home schooled kids are the ones who are out in real life. They are the ones who are involved on a daily basis with the day to day stuff that makes up life. They talk to people of all different ages and status levels as they join their parents going about their day. They have the freedom to study what they are interested in. They have the time to run and play and explore their world. So many of the kids I see today are over-scheduled - school all day, extracurricular activities in the afternoon, homework at night and then bed. When can they have enough time to just develop on their own? To lay in the sunshine and look at clouds and think? To read a good book that touches their soul? I'm not saying these things never happen. But I do believe that for an over-scheduled child, it is harder to make it happen.

Gosh, even all the time-saving and labor-saving devices don't bring us rest. People predicted that with all these modern inventions, we'd have tons of leisure time. Instead we have less.

So, for me, the ancient paths are the ones that lead me in the good way and bring rest to my soul. I'm going to seek them out and follow them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Paula Deen's Strawberry Cheese Ring Recipe

Well, even though I haven't managed to post any pictures (I don't know where Hubby put them on the computer) I thought it might be nice to share a recipe from the cookbook I picked up at The Lady and Sons last week. I'll work my way through the book, each Tuesday sharing a recipe from each chapter. This week, we'll start with an appetizer. Normally, I'll pick a recipe that is served at the restaurant, but not this week. The only appetizer listed as appearing on the menu is for Spinach and Artichoke Dip, which is pretty common, so I'll be giving you the recipe for something I'd never heard of before coming in contact with my friend Jan's mother, from Atlanta. When Jan first told me about this recipe, I thought it sounded horrible, but let me tell you, I was wrong. Once I tried it, I loved it! So, without further ado, Strawberry Cheese Ring:

16 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
One 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 tsp. garlic salt or powder
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup strawberry preserves
Buttery crackers (Ritz, Club, etc.)

Combine all ingredients except preserves and crackers in a food processor or electric mixer. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Scoop mixture onto a platter and mold into a ring formation (place a sheet of wax paper between your hands and the mixture to prevent melting and stickiness). Spread strawberry preserves into the center of the ring and serve with crackers.

Yum!!

Next week's recipe(s) will be both a soup and a salad, so be sure to check back then.
Monday, July 16, 2007

8 Random Things about Myself

I've been tagged by Leeann to do a meme on 8 random things about myself. I'm not generally very good at these things given that nothing ever seems funny enough, but here's what I've got:

1) I can't open my eyes underwater. I learned to swim while wearing contacts so I would always keep my eyes closed so my contacts wouldn't get washed out (and I couldn't take them out to swim - a boy might have been looking at me, you know! Hey, I was 14 and boy-crazy!). So I have never, ok, well, maybe once, even tried to open my eyes underwater. Even though I had LASIK 6 years ago. It's now become a phobia, I think.

2) I have oodles of good, old-fashioned guilt. Like the kind people always say Jewish people have. Now, I am not Jewish. But I can feel guilty over anything. Just ask my mom. She's got working this guilt thing down to a fine art! And any time I read in the church bulletin about a need, I think to myself, "I should do that!" Even if it's something like, "We need 6 strong men who know how to work jackhammers" I'd be thinking, "Hmm, I could do it!"

3) My husband and I never dated before we were engaged. God honestly led us together and we both knew that we were supposed to get married without having dated, kissed or even discussing it until the night Hubby proposed. I'll tell the story in more detail in another post.

4) I hate taking liquid medicine. I could be lying in my bed miserable and if someone came up to me and gave me a liquid that would relieve all my miseries in 1 gulp, I would choose to continue being sick than swallow it. Just can't do it. I think it was all those doses of NyQuil and sprays of Chlorospetic my mother forced down my throat.

5) I love to cook. More specifically, I love to experiment with new recipes. My family finds this quite funny as I was a horrible cook as a teenager. Two examples: I couldn't make Jello no matter how many times I tried. And once I made fudge and was supposed to put in one square of baker's chocolate. I put in the entire box. Needless to say, no one ate the fudge. I'm happy to report that my culinary skills have greatly improved.

6) I hate to shop. Unless I have lots of money, lots of time, and no children around. Because to me there's nothing worse than being on a limited budget, pressured to get the right thing in a short amount of time and having a child stick their head under the dressing room door while I'm changing and half-naked and shouting at me, "Are you done yet?!"

7) I don't like chocolate. I'm sorry, I know this will be the one fact that many of you will gasp in horror at and may never return to this heretical blog. But, truthfully, one Hershey's kiss is about twice as much chocolate as I can stand. Unless it has lots of nuts in it. Or toffee. But even then, I might just eat the nut part or the toffee part. Maybe this explains the fudge fiasco (see #5).

8) The most important thing that has ever happened to me is understanding that God cared enough about me to send his son to take the punishment for my sins so that I could have fellowship with him and everlasting life. The knowledge that I can come into God's presence at any time and be accepted is staggering. The Creator of the universe loves me and calls me his child. And that's not random.

Marriage Monday


We are now back from our trip. If you recall, the challenge I had laid before myself as part of Fruit in Season's 30-Day Marriage Challenge was to be willing to surrender to my husband on the small stuff on the trip. This was a big deal for me, because I am usually one who will fight to the end just to prove that I am right. So, how did I do? Better than I hoped, but I still failed miserably at times. I managed to be gracious when he wanted to go ways that would increase our trip time, but allow him some time to just explore, which he loves to do. And I happily gave up going to places I had planned on to accommodate him. After all, these were minor things in the scale of life.


But it was on the major thing that I blew it. If you've read my previous posts you'll know that our trip to Tennessee wasn't just a vacation - it was a precursor to moving there. Well, about 3 days into the trip, Hubby declared that he wasn't moving there and that he could never leave Miami due to his career. And, ladies, I lost it. Now, to get the bigger picture, you also have to know that we have been considering a move to Knoxville for about 10 months. Prior to that we were planning to move to Colorado, which he also nixed after visiting there. So for two years, I have been getting my hopes up and getting invested in moving to someplace, only now to twice have those dreams disappear.

So I yelled at him and called him names and didn't talk to him for a day and a half. But, you know, God made it alright. Somehow, He softened my heart and made me see that his rationale was correct. He is in such a specialized industry (building in South Florida - hurricane central) that to leave Florida would really mean starting all over again. He would no more have any idea how to build a building in Tennessee than I would. And I couldn't build a birdhouse with a little Home Depot kit. God really stepped in and comforted me.

Then he had an idea. He had the idea of moving to North Florida. He would still be working with the Florida Building Code, he could even conceivably keep his same job, just driving down twice a month to take meetings and otherwise working from home, he'd be near the beach still (which is important to him) and I'd be out of Miami. The area we are thinking about has never had a direct hit by a hurricane either. Something about it's geographical location. Now, I may be setting myself up for disappointment again, but this time, it's his idea. So, once again, I will begin the research process. This time I will keep my heart a little more guarded, but I will trust that God has me in the palm of His hand. He knows where He wants me and He will put me there in His good time.
Saturday, July 14, 2007

Our visit to the Queendom of Southern Cooking

Well, upon insistence from my dear friend, Leeann, we made a stop by The Lady and Sons, Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah. People, it's like the Holy Grail to people who love to cook, like myself, and who are similarly Food Network obsessed. I LOVE this woman - she's not afraid to use a little butter and cream and she sticks her finger in the food to taste it. She's a real "cook" - not a "chef."

Anyhoo, since we were just driving through Savannah and wanted to get to a hotel (it was already after 7:30) we knew we wouldn't get in to eat (you have to line up at 3 pm for dinner seating!!). Still, I was determined to at least visit the place so we set the GPS and headed into town. As we drove through this fairly dive-y area, I see this huge crowd gathered on the sidewalk and thought to myself, "What are all those people doing there!?" and suddenly the GPS says, "Arriving at destination." All those people were waiting to be called for their dinner seating. It was tiny one way street, so I grabbed my camera and hopped out, told Hubby to drive around for 10 minutes and came back. I went in, saw a woman I thought was Paula Deen and about had a heart attack, realized it wasn't her and recovered enough to go over to the store area. After browsing through the offerings, I selected some "Silly Salt" and a copy of the original "Lady and Sons Cookbook." It's got tons of recipes served at the restaurant. Before I paid, the clerk opened it up to show me it was autographed by the Lady herself - even with a smiley face on the end!!

I asked the clerk to take a picture of me in the store with my newly purchased cookbook and then realized that Hubby had taken the memory stick from the camera. So I called him and told him to take a picture of me under the sign as he drove up to pick me up. Instead he had Em jump out and come up the sidewalk (traffic was very slow). She took my picture and we ran back to the car to leave. I jump in the car, Hubby asked me "Did you buy anything?" and I answered in the affirmative. Then he started to pull away. Before Emily got in the car. She got knocked to the ground and, luckily, we didn't run her over as some man was screaming from the street. She twisted her ankle and got scraped up a bit, but she seems none the worse for wear.

So, my daughter almost got killed. But I got my autographed cookbook and a picture of me in front of the restaurant. All's well that ends well! Right?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tennessee...So Far

Well, where do I start? First of all, I guess I should be upfront and say it doesn't look like this will be our future home. (Insert sad face here.) It's a MUCH smaller town than we had understood. And it's pretty much about 20 years behind the times (this is a quote from a resident - not my words!!). I think that to find someplace that will make Hubby and I both happy it's going to have to be a bit more modern than this. But we have enjoyed our time here; the scenery is beautiful and people are so very friendly. Here are some other observations:

Dollywood - Hmm. Well, let me just state that we are a Disney-fied family. Having visited Walt Disney World almost every year for the last 14 years, we are very appreciative of how efficient and well-run a theme park can be. Dollywood could learn a lot. It's a beautiful setting with fun rides and nice shows, but poorly laid out and not particularly well-maintained. Plus the staff could use some better training. At one point, Em needed to use the restroom so we asked the nearest employee where the closest ones were. She sent us over a quarter-mile away. When we got back to where Hubby and Daniel were waiting for us, I saw that there was one just 25 feet father from where we had started! So overall, it was a nice day, but we wouldn't be going again.

Southern pace of living - Ok, I know I'm the one that said I wanted a slower pace of life. But, dadgumm, people, this is slow. I guess it sounds good until you are in the line at Walmart picking up something for dinner with a hungry family at home and the cashier can't get the person in front of you to get her debit card to work. For 25 minutes (no lie!). Does she call for help? Does the customer offer to pay cash (which she finally did - why didn't she just do that after the first 5 minutes?!?!?!) for the first 25 minutes to let everyone else move along? I mean, it was just as if there was no one else in the world. And this is not the first time we've had a similar experience. I guess if you are the customer who they are spending all the time with, it's wonderful. But for those of us who come from a place where you don't spend all your time talking with the store employees about your mama while there's a huge line behind you, it's a little frustrating.

We are off today to visit Gatlinburg. I'm really looking forward to Ripley's Aquarium and Christus Gardens. Tomorrow it's the Smokey Mountains National Park. We've decided to swing through Raleigh, NC on our way home to look at that as a possible relocation site. Catch up with you all later!
Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oh. My. Goodness.

Wow, people, our resort is beautiful. Let me tell you, we will never stay in a hotel again for vacation. We went on eBay and found a week at a timeshare, for the same price per night as a hotel. And we have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, kitchen - basically we could move in. In fact, my children would like to. Plus just steps from our door is the activity center with two pools, sauna, jacuzzi, pool tables, checker tables, internet access, library. It's fantastic!

Can't get the link to work, but if you'd like to check it out, google Fairfield Resorts Smoky Mountains to see the rooms. I know I'm probably the last people in the world to discover this "find a timeshare on eBay trick," but maybe I'm only the second to last and someone can use it.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow of the trip if I can.

Blessing to you all!
Thursday, July 5, 2007

Well, we're off!

Having resigned myself to the fact that I cannot possibly hide all embarrassing thing in my home, I leave knowing that if people snoop, then they snoop. Just accept it and move on, Lori. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Ok, feeling better now. So we leave early tomorrow for our fantabulous trip. Our first destination is Helen, GA. It's a beautiful little town modeled after a Bavarian village. We visited it before and, unfortunately, lost all of our pictures from there when our hard drive crashed. A moment of silence, please, in memory of the hard drive.

Murphy, NC is our next stop. We have a couple of acres of land there that we purchased several years back. We'd just like to see if the area is becoming more built up or if it's still out in the sticks. If we end up moving to Knoxville, it would be so neat to eventually build a cabin there. It's about 2.5 hours away and we could have a "summer home." We'd be just like Oprah. Except she's got a summer home, winter home, spring home, fall home, Christmas home, Labor Day home, Groundhog Day home...Well, you know what I mean.

Then it's off to Knoxville. We will be checking out the real estate market, looking at the job market for hubby, checking out a church or two. Plus we'll visit Gatlinburg and make a much-anticipated trek to Dollywood! My kids love Dolly Parton ever since a) She appeared on "Hannah Montana" and b) They found out it's her singing back-up on Brad Paisley's song "When I Get Where I'm Going." Plus, it's an amusement park. And you can't go wrong with that!

On the return trip, we are going to go through Asheville, NC I learned this evening. Hubby changed the plans on me. Then we'll swing through Savannah and head home. Savannah was one of the places we visited on our honeymoon, so I always love to return there. It's a beautiful city that holds wonderful memories for us.

We hope you've enjoyed your tour of the southeastern U.S. here on Lori Airlines. Please fly with us again soon. Check back for pictures of all the beautiful stops along the way!
Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Myspace Layouts


Happy 4th of July, everyone!
May we always remember that, while not perfect,
America is an amazing place to live.
God bless the U.S.A.!

Doing a little happy dance!


Ok, for those of you long-time bloggers whose counters read in the hundreds of thousands, please turn away now before I completely embarrass myself.
Are you gone?
Ok, if you are still reading....
My blog counter just hit 100!!! That's amazing to me! I know it's really peanuts in the whole blogosphere, but hey, give me a break. I've only been doing this 3 weeks!
That's me in the top left corner doing my happy dance. Only I'm about 30 years older. And a whole lot, ahem, less skinny. But just as happy!
So, thanks for visiting my humble little home on the web. And come back. You never know when I will open myself up again for abject humiliation as I have right now!

Edited to add: Ok, I don't know how to add. I'm really only about 20 years older than the girl in the picture!

A Sweet Poem

Delight in Simple Things
Learn to like what does not cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like people, even those who may be very different from you.
Learn to shelter your family with love, comfort, and peace.
Learn to keep your wants simple.
Refuse to be owned and anchored by things and opinions of others.
Learn to like the sunrise and the sunset,
the beating of rain on the roof and windows,
the gentle fall of snow in winter.
Learn to hold heaven near and dear.
Learn to love God, for He surely loves you.
Anonymous
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Why My House Must be Spotless Before I I Leave Town

Well, we've been going crazy around here. Of course, as happens each time we go on vacation, my poor, sweet husband is working under deadline. He's in the building/construction industry and so he's always working under deadline. But it seems as though each time a vacation rolls around, it's a HUGE one that looms large and unsurmountable. So he's been working every night late, weekends and is planning on going in tomorrow even though it's a national holiday and all. Nobody can question my man's work ethic, that's for sure.

The end result for me is that I'm responsible for everything else with regards to getting ready for the trip. Getting the car serviced and ready to go. Getting all the packing done. Planning the itinerary. Getting the house in reasonable order so that the neighbors don't think we are slobs when they come in to take care of the animals.

So what do you all think about having people come in your house when you aren't there? Does it make you uncomfortable thinking that people are in your house? Do you think they snoop? I betcha anything they do. I remember one woman I knew told me about taking care of a friend's house while they were away. She "just happened to see laying out on the desk" the husband's paycheck stub. Who worked at the same place as her husband. And did the same job. And made a lot more money. Oops! I guess the alternative is to put the pooch in the kennel, but that's a little more than we can spend, plus I think she'll be happier in her own home. In the meantime, I've organized each and every kitchen cabinet and drawer, as well as the linen closets and pantries. Tonight? Yep, it'll be my underwear drawer.

Just in case.

Lesson Learned - Humans are Fallible

Well, with great sadness, I read tonight of the defrocking of a man who I have looked up to, Rev. R.C. Sproul, Jr. It happened some time ago, but I only learned of it this evening while googling some information on his father. I have a book by R.C., Jr. about covenantal homeschooling which I thoroughly enjoyed. And now to find that some very serious charges were leveled against him (which he admitted to), well, it's painful. I'm opting not to discuss those charges here. If you'd like to find out what I'm talking about, just google his name and you'll find it. But I'm tired of hearing about people whom I respect turning out to be so different from who I believe they are. Time and again we have seen prominent Christians brought down by sin. The Christian artist who has an affair. The preacher who is caught in sexual sin or financial malfeasance.

This doesn't just apply to people from afar. Unfortunately, our own church has been rocked by people not being who they appear to be. The choir director and the elder who have had affairs. The youth pastor with the porn addiction. The music director with the face and talent of an angel and the spirit of a serpent.

I know that, if held up for public scrutiny, I probably wouldn't pass anyone's muster for what a godly woman should be. Please don't take this as some kind of "I'm holier than you" post. I have many, many failings. I have a horrible temper. I fail to pray and read my Bible more often than not. I'm gluttonous. I tend toward laziness. I don't have enough passion for the lost. These are all things that grieve my heart. And yet, somehow I expect more of others.

Maybe that's my problem. Maybe I need to focus more on the log in my own eye than the speck in someone else's. Still it hurts. It hurts to be so disappointed. I guess the lesson to learn is that it is only in Christ that we have our hope. He is the only one that will never fail us, that will never give us reason to be disappointed. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Truly.

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness."
Psalm 29:2
Monday, July 2, 2007

Marriage Monday - 30 Day Honor Your Husband Challenge


Figuring better late than never, I've joined in on the action at Fruit in Season who is running an "Honor Your Husband 30-Day Challenge." Although I found it half-way through the second week, I still decided to participate. So here is my goal for this week with regards to honoring my husband.
We will be heading out of town on vacation this week. I'm so excited, not just because it is the first step in moving to Tennessee, but just to have time to spend with my husband. He's been working so hard lately, and when he isn't at work he has been busy with all the real estate transactions we have been doing. So the kids and I haven't really seen much of him and when he is home he's exhausted. The week and a half vacation is just what we need. Well, actually he needs about a month's vacation, but that's not gonna happen!
Unfortunately, whenever we spend too much time together we tend to argue. Not big arguments, but little nit-picky stuff. Which road to take, what clothes people should wear, to eat out or in, etc. Stuff that, in the end, really doesn't matter. It just becomes an issue of "who's going to give in?" So I am resolving that for the duration of our trip, I'm not going to let little stuff bother me. If we are late getting somewhere, that's ok. I'd rather honor my husband than be on time (even though I am Miss Punctuality!). If he'd rather take a back road and see the scenery, then so be it. He needs the relaxation more than I need to arrive half an hour earlier at the hotel.
I'm going to really strive to put his wants and needs above my own during this time and to do it joyfully. Phillipians 2:3-4 says it best: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (English Standard Version) I realize that humility is something that I need to work on in my marriage - I'm not always right (unbelievable, I know) and even if I am, does it really matter more than honoring my husband, his needs and his desires? No.
So there you have it. I'd appreciate any prayers you can offer for me during this time because it will be a hard habit to break, but through God I know I can do it!
Sunday, July 1, 2007
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A big birthday shout-out to my friend, Laurie!! She moved away at the end of last year and I miss her all the time (sniff, sniff), but I'm thrilled that she visits me here on the blog and gets caught up in all the minutiae of my life.

Have a great day, Laurie!!

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