Friday, January 30, 2009

Snicker's the dog


So this is our dog Snickers.

We have a love/hate relationship with her.

Sometimes she can be so cute and sweet and loveable and the next minute....
NOT!
I told you already how she loves to bolt when she gets a chance!

Does not make the big guy happy...

We are thankful for the snow....it keeps her from going very far if she does get the urge to make a dash for it!

You should see her out there in the deep snow. She looks a bit like a rabbit jumping around trying to get through it!
One day Micah decided she needed a hat, but the hat didn't stay on her head.
After spending a LONG time trying to put it on her he finally gave up and called it a "nose warmer". Then he spent the next 46 minutes trying to get her to sit still so he could take a picture of his creation. She finally cooperated with his little mission and sat until he was done.
Now that I think of it....
Maybe this explains her sudden need to exit the building at great speeds!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Boxed, Labeled and Shipped

What is it about expectations that make me crazy?!

Seriously, this might be the big issue that needs some serious therapy!

Maybe it comes from the fact that I had to deal with this all my life. I never have fully accepted it and after 37 years I wonder if I ever will!

Being a preacher's kid is not always the easiest place to grow up. Don't get me wrong there are some perks…

Like free food at Christmas.

But there is the down side to the situation….

It's called the unrealistic expectations that some people just naturally seem to have!

I think I referred to this back in my post

"Me a pastor's wife"?

It's this whole notion that someone in a leadership position is supposed to be my Savior.

When I am faced with unrealistic expectations this is what I do...
I start talking out loud to myself about the situation.

I do this because:

  1. I can understand exactly what I'm trying to say
  2. I don't have to worry that my confidence will be broken and
  3. It makes me feel like I have been heard in the end!

You should try it! Ha!

There are several things that occur to me as i process this:

A. I hate being put in a box!

B. I hate being labeled a name!

C. I hate being shipped out when I didn't live up to A or B!

So then God stirs me to consider this:

Who have I put in a box?

What name have I given them?

And have I in my head shipped them out because they didn't live up to the standard I had set for them. Maybe they hurt me really bad! Maybe what they did is not even justifiable!

It is so hard not to keep people in those boxes. In fact if you read the label it says exactly who they are. But when I take a closer look I realize that my name is written there too.

I too, need forgiveness.

I too, need to be released from the box.

I too, hate to be shipped on the train sent to no where.

So the lesson for me today was:

I will continue to fight against a sense of false guilt. It is not healthy to live with!

I also want to learn to let other's out of the boxes that I have assigned them.(Even the ones who place those huge expectations on me).

I want to learn to be more forgiving.(Even to people who label me incorrectly)

And the next time I am tempted to Ship someone out(or write them off)maybe I should instead peel off the label, open the box and set them free from my expectations of them.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Every family needs one....A coffee snob!


We just had a little fun on Sunday evening eating some chips and ranch with cookie mud slides on the side.....

This is my brother Steve and his beautiful wife Regina.

They are really cool!

I mean they are so cool they even own their own coffee roasting business!

And they make really good drinks at their little coffee shop!

They are what I affectionately call, "Coffee Snobs". That's right, there, I said it!

Seriously, this woman knows a good coffee by the smell.

It is truly a gift!

And they know that I'm kidding about them being snobs....right guys;)??
So we just took the kiddo's out for a little bit of fun to break up this freezing cold January night.

And then as we are sitting there my cousin Renee and her husband Stacy walk past.....



So I thought they really should be photographed as well.

It was a happening night on the town:) Even if it was Sunday night and even if it was 3 out!


Nothing big tonight...just a little lightness ...and if you were wondering...

we didn't order coffee!


Third Grade Date

We have a little tradition in our family....It's called the Third Grade Date.
There comes a time in every persons life when they just need to have answers. It seems like
when our kids turn about 9 they start having more questions about some grown up subjects...

Ahem...

if you know what I mean.

A number of years ago I heard Dr Dobson say in a broadcast, "if you don't start talking to your child by the 3rd grade about this subject you will possibly miss talking about it altogether". (Obviously how exposed your child is to other children plays into this)
We feel pretty strongly that we want to be the ones to give our children the "details" about this very important subject. I know it doesn't always work out that way....we just wanted to attempt to be the first.
I think it does make a difference in children. Some children just aren't asking questions about this yet. Or some children cannot be trusted to keep confidences yet.

With out fail all three of our older children have started asking lots of questions at about this age.

So we take them out for a special date.

Malaina and I took the train to Chicago and visited the American Girl store. A memory maker indeed!


Jalen and J went to "mid evil times". This is a dinner theater with lots of swords and testosterone drivin males. He loved it!


And now, Micah and J went to a special sporting event this past weekend....The Harlem Globetrotters game. Micah was so excited for this special outing.
It's a coming of age of sorts and it is somewhat bittersweet for me.

We don't give them the whole "boat load" of information, just the basics. We tell them that this is an ongoing dialogue. Any time they want to know anything they just need to ask~we will tell them what they want to know. We are as honest as we can be with them.
We have had some pretty interesting responses from each of them. We are writing them down for future amusement together. And they will say, "I said that?"
The most important part of the whole event is to open the door for on going discussions with them. So far, it seems to be a key factor in how open our children are to ask us questions.

We tell them of the importance of this. How God made it for Men and Women who are married. And that this is something that should be kept sacred. We talk to them about the importance of keeping this a private matter that we don't discuss with others. Not even siblings.(That will come later I am sure)But for now they just need to hold this between us and them.

I did a "crash course" in a book from Kevin Lehman. It was a helpful resource...especially the last chapters.


I also found it helpful to talk while driving. It is easier to say more delicate things. It makes things more comfortable for them.


I used to stress out when I would think about this stage of life. But it really has not been that difficult. I think the more relaxed I am about the whole subject the more comfortable they are in having future conversations with me.

For those of you yet to experience this....it really can be a neat time together. Praying and talking to them.

For those who have already been here....do you have anything further to add?

Going to the Chapel

Tonight We celebrated The marriage of Karissa and Rylan.
I can honestly say I don't know if I ever have seen a bride smile more than Karissa did tonight. So smiley!
So beautiful!
I remember when we first started attending our church. Karissa and her sister Kirstin were the two little girls that loved our then, very little children. They would take our children and play with them after church. They babysat for them during elders meetings. They were such a joy to this mother's heart. And now here she is all grown up.
A beautiful lady who is beginning a wonderful new journey!

Here are some photos of the evening.
The pretty girl up in the corner is Kirstin.
In the lower left is Donovan and Heather.
And the lower right is Carol and Norm.
What a fun time to celebrate with them and remember,
Why we first fell in love....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blessed

Gratitude is a state of mind. I am convinced of it.
I am also under the belief that I can't be a fearful person and truly grateful at the same time.
What does that mean?
There is something about fear that completely depletes a person of thankfulness.
If I am focusing on the thing that scares me instead of on all I have to be grateful for I consume my mind with the fear.

We have been overwhelmed with bad news about the state of our economy. And frankly in the county I live in it has been particularly bleak!
We have been prosperous for many years but have taken a HUGE hit in the past year. People have lost jobs like never before!
Companies that were booming just 12 months ago have shut their doors.
It can be very scary for all of us.
My husband has had his own business in remodeling for the past 10 years. Highs and lows go with this business~He primarily installs windows so January and February are always slower. We know to plan for slow~but this year we cheer every time a call comes in. One more job, for one more week.
Jason and I were talking today about where we are at~ for some reason neither of us are feeling fearful.
There is just this peace that God is in control and has us in his hands.
For many years I would fall into a state of panic. What will happen to us? How will we make it through? But God always has given us way more than we need!

Beth Moore once said, "God is not as concerned with my comfort as he is with my character".

He walks us through these times~The choice on how we will respond is ours.
The thing is~ if we fail, he loves us too much to let us go~so he gives us the chance to repeat the test...sometimes over and over.
I can panic and become consumed with my fears or I can focus on what I have been given.
I am blessed beyond measure.
I really believe that!
It just doesn't leave much room for fears to overwhelm me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I want to be a history maker

Yesterday was a historical day in our nation. I know that isn't news to you. Unless, of course, you don't watch the news.

I have no intention of making this blog a political one. That is not my calling. I respect people who tell us what's going on in the political arena and where I can be making a difference.

I have my political views but I never want to be so caught up in politics that I forget my first allegiance is to Jesus. And with that comes a love for his people that is more important to me than my world views. So, regardless if President Obama is your guy or not. He is now our president, who has been placed into office. We are commanded to respect his position and pray for him.

I watched much of the inauguration ceremonies yesterday. The part that moved me most was that 100 years ago this would have all been just a dream. So many people through the years have played a key or sometimes a very low key part in this day happening. Who would have ever thought that a slave or a black son would grow up to be President of the United States. No one back then, I am sure! It is a victory for all of us in that regard. It is triumph for all the people who risked their lives hiding and transporting people in the underground railroad. For all the tears shed and injustice that was served….it is justice for those who gave.

I have been thinking about ways that my life has been affected in other areas because of choices that my parents and grandparents made.

My grandfather was given life and put up for adoption when he was a baby. His mother chose to give him life, which in turn gave me life. She has affected four generations because of that choice.

So often it's easy to forget the decision that I make today will affect generations to come.

It's not just about me. My actions have far reaching implications. I may not see that today. But one day whether here or up there, I believe I will.

My decision to live my life passionately instead of mediocre does change the way I "do" life. It changes my perspective. It gives me new priorities.

How about you? What do you want to change in the world you influence? Whose life will you make a difference in? How do you want to be remembered?

Just a couple of questions I'm pondering……

Beware of Bulgy Cans

Have you ever seen what can happen to a can of coke when it's frozen and than thaws?????

If you're one of those people who likes to experience things for yourself, by all means try this at home.

But if you're someone who likes to learn from others mistakes you may want to be cautious about this.

I keep my pop in the garage. In the summer it's in the fridge out there and in the winter I typically just set it in our unheated garage.

Well, on Saturday I was feeling a little thirsty for some of my beverage of choice….so I brought this can in, realizing that it was "bulging".

I figured if I thaw it out it would be fine. I couldn't set it in the upright position because of the "bulginess" of its contents, so I laid it beside my sink.

I was busily trying to prepare my pizza for dinner when I heard this gun shot noise go off right behind me. It was one of those moments where everything stops. All I could hear was a ringing in my left ear. I turned around to see Diet Coke Chunks and liquid sugar sprayed all over my entire kitchen. Up the walls, on the cabinets, across the floor and all over the counters. It was to my good fortune that it was laying sideways, because if it would have been pointing up it surely would have shot a hole right into the ceiling! As it was, the entire lid came pummeling across the width of my kitchen and hit the refrigerator. I am glad the children were not raiding the fridge at that precise moment! A metal can to the back of the head would be a bit painful, I suspect!

There was a positive element to the story….my kitchen got a major cleaning. With the help of J we had that mess cleaned up in about 15 minutes.

The funny thing is my 9 year old son, picked up the top of the lid, held it up and said, "hey mom….blog this…."

Nothing can happen around here anymore where the whole family doesn't think, "that really should be made public knowledge".

Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to get up the courage to share it, but I always seem to come around.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Games and Food

Here it is Monday again, officially 2 full weeks until February.

I'm not gonna lie…..in Indiana…that's a very good thing!

The children were off school on Friday and today as well, so it really feels like we are back on Christmas break, sans the cookies and presents.
We did do hot chocolate and we played fox and geese today.
I remember as a kid I could go for hours out in the white, powdery stuff.

I remember not being able to feel my toes and fingers so I would run them under water until feeling returned.


I remember fondly, building forts and making snow angels and snowmen. Great times! And yet, I have absolutely zero desire to even go out in the snow, let alone play in it.


It's one of those things that I force myself to do out of a simple thing called …the joy of making my children smile!
Yep, that's it. The smiles on their faces! I love to see that!
So after joining them for awhile today I told them I would make them some "snow cream", as they like to call it.

Get some clean snow
1-fix n mix bowl


1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla


Use a big spoon or spatula and stir until evenly distributed.


Serve or add toppings.




mmmm...mmmm...Good!



I want to apologize for not getting this Cherry Cloud that I promised you in last week.


This is a light dessert(by light I do not mean low cal) that is one of our favorites. We had it for our Christmas eve dinner and I may serve it again for Valentine's Dinner.


3 egg whites


1/4 tsp cream of tartar


3/4 C. sugar


Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy(a long time). Beat in Sugar 1 T at a time. In meantime, cut large circles out of paper bag and place on a round pizza pan. Once mixture is fairly stiff, spread onto paper bag, making a a round shape with a spatula, mound up around the sides to create a "nest like" look. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 275. When finished, cool and carefully peel paper off back of shell.


Mix:


1 pkg(8oz) cream cheese


1/2 C. sugar


1/2 tsp vanilla


1 C. Cool whip


mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Fold in cool whip. Spread mixture into center of shell. Top with can cherry pie filling.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Disappointed?

I Have been thinking a lot lately about how to deal with disappointment.

Disappointment is a part of life.

You know if I ever meet someone who has never been disappointed it probably Will mean they are either living on another planet or they simply just aren't in touch.

I don't like when people just pass off their disappointment as if it doesn't matter or even exist.

It doesn't seem genuine to me.

But neither is it fun to be around someone who is always playing the victim.

Like life is just sorry....negativity just seeps from their pores.

Unfortunately I have probably been both these people from time to time.


What is the cause of disappointment?

My first thought is:


EXPECTATIONS


Typically, the higher my expectations of a person or situation are the more disappointed I become when they fail..

Some of my expectations may be legitimate like, if I'm married, I can expect my husband to be faithful to me.



But what happens when my hopes are disappointed?

Because eventually they may be.

Why?

Because we're people.

We fail.

We mess up.

We do! We do.

And if I expect something like...marriage,a baby,new job,bigger house,new community...is going to bring me only happiness I can count on this....


I WILL be disappointed.


The second thing I think about is:

EXCLUSION

When I feel left out or excluded from something I would really like to be a part of, I feel disappointment.
Why?
Because I'm rejected.
That stinks!
Really, Who enjoys that?
It's one of the worst things ever!
To feel like you are unwanted!
Ditched.
Unimportant.
When that person who you thought you would share life with walks out on you. Or when your best friend all of a sudden is no longer available for you. Or when the child whom you've loved since birth decides they no longer want you in their life.
Rejection is painful!



The third thing is:

EVIL

You know there is this horrible thing that exists in our world called

Sin or Evil.

I hate that because of sin we live in a broken, fallen world.

It makes me sad that my nephew has to spend time in a hospital bed, because of evil.

Not because he personally deserves a punishment.

But because we all have fallen short of the glory of God.

It's disappointing to me!

Why does he have to suffer?


Today I am going to answer my own questions by writing this song down.


I wrote it several years ago specifically with my nephew Benji in mind.

He has CF.

He was born with it.

He is my sons best friend.

We don't understand why he was chosen to walk this road but we know that our God is good!

We believe that one day he will wipe all tears from his children's eyes.

There will be no more pain. No more disappointment.No more fear. No more suffering.

Oh yes, We believe!

I also know that my God doesn't ask his children to walk through anything he hasn't himself faced.

He was rejected and despised.

He too, walked the road of suffering.
He was misunderstood. He offended many by his very presence.



I call this song,

It's Unfair God



A little boy named Billy lay in a hospital bed
With his daddy at his side, cradling his head.
And quietly whispers, "why was I made this way
while all the other children get to run and play?"



It's not fair! You never did a thing to deserve this.
My heart breaks to watch you go through it.
You're my son. If I could take the pain I would try.
God only know the tears I cried!



Another boy was born, to the world one starry night
His Father sent him down, from His kingdom in the sky.
He came to show His love for us.
We nailed him to a tree. Yet with His dieing breath
He whispered,
Father forgive them.



It's not fair! You never did a thing to deserve this!
My heart breaks to watch you go through it!
You're my Son. If I could take the pain I would try
I only know the tears I've cried!


It's unfair, God. You do not
give us what
we deserve.
No eye has seen or ear has heard, what you have prepared.


It's not fair! You never did a thing to deserve this,
my broken heart, you came to heal it.
Sinless one. Came to be made sin for all men
Died so we are free to Live! Free to live! It's not fair!


Yes He walked on earth and was flesh like me,
Yet in dealing with his disappointment,

He forgave.

I think that in part is my answer!

Forgiveness.

With his dieing breath he forgave.As his follower I am asked to do the same.

It is completely unfair that I have exchanged my filthy rags for his righteousness.It's not what I deserve and yet Jesus, out of love made the way for me.

Maybe I can make room in my heart today for that same love.

Friday, January 16, 2009

14 below doesn't stop the fun~

Do you like the cold better than the hot?

Not me!
I am not a winter person. I think the snow is beautiful.
Absolutely!
I just wish it could be 60 degrees at the same time.
Fantasy, I know!
Many of you are living through this cold snap just like I am. Hasn't it been unbelievably cold?!

Seriously, when I go out my whole body starts getting the shakes.

I have found that it's hard for my brain to operate when my whole body is just using all its energy to keep warm.

Yeah, that's right, last night this is what the van read!

Yesterday my friend Rolanda invited me out for more birthday fun. So just as I was ready to run out the door for lunch, my friend Heather called and said..."You wanna see a movie tonight"?


Really? 2 specials in 1 day?
How awesome is that?
So after sharing a wonderful lunch with Rolanda at one of my favorite places....


Panera Bread

I had something else to look forward to!
So last night these 3 friends of mine and I braved the elements to go spend some "girl" time.

It was so much fun.

These girls are all new friends of mine from church.

What a great time of getting to know them!
We talked about lots of things that we would never share on a Sunday morning!

Our conversation was filled with much laughter. We did include a couple of "deeper" subjects but mostly kept it light and talked about our "youth".

That's always a dangerous subject.
I have come to the conclusion that maybe I was not the only idiot in my youth!
Thanks gals:)!
So before we parted we decided we needed to get a picture. Since no one else(other than 2 kind of creepy looking men)was around anymore, we just took a self portrait.

This was the first shot...It made us laugh because Charlotte almost made it in the pic.


And here we get a better look at all faces!:)
Here we are Marlys, Me, Charlotte, and Heather....Our photographer!
Good times, good memories!
I love times like this. It makes me realize that life is much better when shared in community!
I also was reminded of something from all my friends today.
When I take the time to initiate friendship.... I win too.
It's easy to just hope that people will call me to invite me to dinner, or out for a fun night.
But instead of focusing on who will invite me, how about I focus on who I could invite?
How about I let others know that I like being with them.
Friendship 101~








Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let's make a Deal

You know what can really get me excited?

I mean like I have to call around and make sure everyone knows...

A great deal!



Seriously...like if my husband finds a grandfather clock sitting out beside the road ready to be hauled away to the dump.
Or if J tells me that for my birthday I can buy tickets to go to Florida with my sisters and mom... and when I go to purchase tickets I find them for

$29 yes you saw that right....$29 dollah bills!



I booked my flight along with my sister-in-law's and mom's last night on allegient air for $29 dollars one way to Tampa Florida! With Taxes a total of $53.00!






Now since we are living under piles of snow right now that makes me especially cheerful!


It makes me not even care that my nose hairs are stiff when I went out to the dentist today.




It's not even on my radar that we are only beginning winter and we have below 0 wind chill temps.




Oh the joy of a great deal!!!




And to top it all off I found these cute little things at Pier One over the weekend.




This was thanks to a little tip from my friend bliss over at blissfullyhappy housewife.
4 bowls, 4 daisy embroidered napkins and an icecream/soda fountain cookbook for a grand total of $15

We can all use a pick me up now and again huh?



I am thankful for blessings like these.


Often it's the small things that make me smile!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bread and salad recipe

You ladies are so kind, so loving!



I love you back!



I want you to know that!



I guess I'll keep the brown....ha!





Also,Thanks for your thoughts on what you would like to read on here.

One of you asked about the bread I mentioned in my my bread bowl and soup post.


I should have given you that recipe right away.
I found this "soft sandwich bun" recipe a number of years ago in a "quick cooking" magazine.
I use it quite frequently.
This is it:

1 1/4 C. Milk

1 egg beaten

2 Tbsp butter, softened

1/4 C. Sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

3 3/4 c. bread flour

1 1/4 tsp. yeast
In bread machine place first seven ingredients. Select dough setting. When cycle is completed turn dough onto lightly floured surface and punch down. Divide dough in half. Roll out and cut. Brush top with melted butter.Cover and let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 10-15 min


So for the bread bowls I simply pull it out of the machine kneading it a bit and divide into 6 equal balls. I let it rise for only about 15 minutes on top of the stove as the oven warms up.
Bake time is the same. So easy! Just cut out the middle once it's baked.





Since I'm giving you recipes today anyway I'll just give you this salad as well.

I started making this salad right around Christmas. I have made it a total of 6 times since then.
Translation: I REALLY like it! And its J's favorite salad!
It's called Romain Lettuce Salad:


1 head romaine lettuce chopped


1 head broccoli or cauliflower cut up

1 pkg ramen noodles, chicken flavor

1 c. pecans or almonds, sliced (optional)

Dressing:
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C vinegar
1/2 C. oil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
seasoning from noodles
Cut up romaine lettuce; add broccoli, or cauliflower. Brown broken-up Ramen noodles and pecans in butter; cool enough to add lettuce. To make dressing, heat the sugar and the vinegar enough to melt the sugar. Cool and add the rest of the ingredients. Add dressing to lettuce, just before serving.


YUMMO!


WE are anticipating some nasty weather...they keep telling us blizzard like conditions. Right now the sun is shining... so.... whatever! But we are hunkering down making sure we have lots of milk and bread. Maybe some hot soup and bread again tonight!

I wanted to show you this dessert.... I will post later this week.

If you heart cheese cake you will like this!




Happy Winter Days to you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yes, its really me!

So I told you I may have some changes coming in the hair department.

Well this was the day.

I took care of the unsettledness in me.

I have been dealing with lots of broken, damaged ends and it was just time to do something completely different.

Last week I was in the check out line... do you remember my luck with lines...Yeah, well, it was one of those times. I switched lines and managed to hang out in the store an extra 15 minutes...So, to kill some time I scanned the magazines and saw this stunning picture of a well known actress(I have since found out) Mariska Hargitay.

I immediately knew what I would do. She convinced me!



I love to switch it up with my hair. You know what I mean? I take the approach that hair and color is a lot like painting a room. I like to switch that up quite frequently as well.



I figure it's not a big deal.



It grows.

Plus that if someone hates my hair one day they just might like it better the next day.

My sister is nothing like me in this area....She thinks I'm nuts.

I am!

I like it!

So here I am this morning....

I'm getting amazing at these self portraits!

And 4 hours later...



OH YES I DID!





There were lots of gasps and "oh my goodness" from my kids when I got home. It's been a LONG time since I've been this color. I think maybe like 7 years!

After the shock and fingerprint i.d.'s I think they do believe it's me!

Whatda ya think???? Should I keep it?

I'm sounding a little insecure!

But really do you think it's hideous?
OK that's all. That's all I got.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Comfort food 101

Well after our Friday night spaghetti episode we have moved on~
We moved right on to bread bowls and Soup.
Do you make bread? Well that's perfect because I don't. Well, not in the traditional sense.
I have tried for years but it just never turns out as great as I want it to. So I have become dependant on a machine.
Yay for the invention of the bread maker!
While I am not a fan of bread baked in the machine I do love to use it on the "dough" setting.
I dump my ingredients in and in 1 1/2 hours the dough is ready to put on my pan. I let it rise on the stove top while the oven is warming up and then I pop it in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
So easy! You can do this ~ I know you can!


I use this yummy kind of sweet, white bread recipe. It is actually for dinner rolls. When I am making bread bowls I just make them a little bit larger. This particular recipe works perfect because it splits into 6 big rolls.
And this is the result....


It is wonderful accompanied by some hot creamy soup.
This night the partner was some Potato Broccoli soup.

The ingredients for this simple soup is as follows:

6-7 potatoes cooked,peeled and shredded

1 (16 oz) bag frozen broccoli

2 Cups chicken broth

1 1/2 Cup milk

1 can evaporated milk

2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1/2 lb. cubed and diced melting cheese

Cook your frozen broccoli just until thawed. Drain and put in blender. (I leave a little water so it will blend better) Warm milk, broth and evaporated milk in large stockpot. Add potatoes, broccoli and seasoning.I also add a little cornstarch to thicken. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add cheese at end.

When I make this I have enough for 2 meals.

If your not a fan of broccoli it could be made as potato soup.But if I chop the broccoli fine enough the non-broccoli lovers in my family like it. At least that's what they say. ha ha!

On a different note....

As you know I am a baby at blogging...well maybe pubescent by now... but I was wondering...Could you give me some feedback on what you like to read about? Is it is more stories, or inspiration, or recipes????

I started this blog primarily because it's a great way to store memories, stories and pictures for future reference but I am also aware that it is a public blog and at least 3 people read it every day....so I want to hear from the 3 of you what you like best....maybe I can do more of that or less of this:)

Okay your turn....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Manners….are they over rated?

We like to sit down and eat dinner together. Some nights are more challenging than others.

Tonight we had "one of those nights".

We have been working a considerable amount of time (like for the past 13 years) on table manners.

Yeah, I know what a bore! I get so weary of this particular training.

So weary!

My boys, all though very intelligent in so many ways, seem to be slow learners in this area!

One of my sons is what I would classify as a "shoveler". To describe how he scrunches way down in his seat and leaves not even an inch between his mouth and his plate to pile the food directly into the "pie hole" is simply repugnant to his mother!

And my other son is equally as gifted in stuffing food in the mouth until the expansion of his cheeks is so great that you can practically see every morsel as he gulps it down the hatch.

It's just a total turn off.

Well, tonight as we were eating our spaghetti it was apparent that my sweet sons, whom I have loved from the womb, had thrown every single manner away in their piles of spaghetti.

They were shoveling and stuffing at great speeds and frankly having a wonderful time of it!

When I see them having so much fun flinging food around, chewing lettuce leaves like animals, and slopping up the table, I am driven to say something really intelligent like…

"You need to stop that right now, You weren't raised in a barn".

To which they reply, "what exactly do you mean by that mom?" And after my brief, dictionary explanation, as to what that means they continue with the food fest!

They were laughing and talking and becoming increasingly elevated in their noise level.

By this time we had moved on to our dessert which was in hot debate whether it was pronounced "sherbert"," Sherbet", or "Sorbet".

My patient husband, for some reason, was equally as disturbed as I by the fierceness in which they were consuming the food, and where it was landing.

He was not pleased.

His face became somewhat visibly contorted as he, in a very stern way, reprimanded the entire table for the unconsciousness in which people were eating, talking with full mouths, and flinging food.

The entire conversation stopped cold.

Silence.

Until one of the boys whispered, "It's quiet".

And than J said, "There, I guess I took care of that"!

And I started shaking from laughter until I had laugh tears streaming down my face.

He too started laughing and the children all begin laughing and sighing with relief!

At that moment I may or may not have reached up and scratched an itch under my arm.

My "shoveler" son, said, "Hey mom, better not scratch your arm pit at the table, People may ask if you were raised in a rain forest".

To which the whole table erupted in monkey noises, and armpit monkey gestures.

Laughing tears were streaming down my face.

All in all, I know table manners aren't the most important thing in life.

I'm not giving up though! I will have these boys trained one day.

After all, I don't want their wives to look at me Someday and say,

"Did you raise him in a barn"?

Photo Editing

Okay dear ones...I have had a couple of you ask on here and On facebook about the picture editing sites I go to.
So this is it:
I like the site Picnik.com...
I'm on a slow computer right now so I can't link it very well for you but if you just google it, it will come right up.
You download a picture for FREE and edit it. That's it! Save it back on to your computer... Then you can either print it or post it on your page.
You can buy a premium package but what you see here is not the premium.
I recently discovered "scrapblog", which I am interested in learning more about. It isn't photo editing. But you can arrange your photos..So cute!
There you go...Happy Picniking!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Birthday Randomness

Well, I thought I'd let you know that someone may or may not be turning 37 today....
And to give myself a little birthday present I decided to post a couple pictures that I have been working on.
Yeah I know...Its almost nauseating but....Who cares! It's my birthday!



And then there's little memory from last summer and our "get away" to this cute little bed and breakfast.


Here I am with my mom at Christmas. Don't get used to this color hair...I am seriously thinking about changing it! Maybe I'll do it as a little "gift" to myself.....Hmmmm....Malaina and my nephew Neil. They are such good friends. They always look forward to spending time together. When Malaina was about 4 she said "Mommy, when I grow up I'm gonna Marry Jayen(couldn't pronouce the L's yet)I said, "Oh sweetie, you can't do that and live in Indiana"(she wasn't even the one born in KY:)That's for all my Louisville Friends:)Without missing a beat she said"OK fine, I'll just marry Neil than". I waited a few years to break the news that he couldn't be an option either. Big Bummer!
Here are these cuties....Sophie and her friend Jackson. That's sugar all over their faces.

This may be an option for her future spouse..No pressure...I'm just sayin...




And here is my cousin Suz with her new groom Brendon praying at their reception.


I am loving photography and all the tricks to enhancing pictures. I think it may be fun to take more classes to learn other tricks and "fun-ness" of picture taking and editing.

Maybe that will be something I pursue this year?


Thank you for letting me share my life with you these past months. A year ago I didn't even know what a blog was. It has been a true blessing to meet so many new friends and connect with so many of my old friends as well!

I'm so lucky to be me.....Cause I got you!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Captivated by Him

Yesterday we celebrated Jesus at church.
We worshiped Jesus the servant king.

I am so captivated by the thought that this great and mighty one,
The almighty creator.
The one who flung the stars into space.
The one who said to the waters stop here and they did.
The one who rolled back the waters of the sea so his people would not drown.
The one who created heaven and earth.

He is the same one who took on flesh and became a helpless baby.

We hear this story so often that sometimes it's kind of like "yeah, I know, cool"....
But really? Really?
That's way more than cool!

You know what it does for me? It says "Nothing is really impossible for this King that I worship".

These problems that seem so great to me really "aint a thing" to him!
Yeah, even the big issues. Even the mountains that are impossible for me to scale!
All this is so minimal to the one who made the mountain.

I am facing some of those mountains right now...
I am sure that God isn't surprised that they feel like mountains to me. He knows me well.

One of the things J said yesterday in the message is "God gives us what we need not what we want".
Excellent thought!

When Jesus came to earth the Jews knew what they wanted. They wanted someone to come and deliver them from the oppression of the Romans. They wanted a warrior that would strike their enemies dead.
But God knew what they needed.

They needed a Redeemer.

Oh, yes, that's it!

I want someone to come and take this problem away.
I want to have everything fixed now.
I want to be blessed with all good things.
I want....I want.....I want....

And sometimes God chooses to give me these gifts. Sometimes he intervenes and moves the mountain.

But sometimes God knows this isn't what I need.
In order to "grow me up" he chooses to give me what I need instead.

My response to him is this.
Lord, today in spite of my wants I desire you more. I am choosing to believe you. I know all things are possible for you. I know you have a plan for my life. A plan to give me hope and a future. To bring me good and not harm. I know I can trust you with my life. You are a good God and I am thankful to be your daughter.
Today I trust you my King!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Eyes

Eyes....
The window to the soul right?

Do you ever look into someones eyes and see the soul? Do you ever actually take the time?


Over the holidays we have been doing a lot of "watching". Especially old home movies. It is one of my favorite things to do and yet we so rarely take the time to dig through those old tapes and DVDs.

My kids think it is so much fun to see themselves as little babies and toddlers.

Whenever I do this I become so melancholy about how time flies. It was only a few years ago and yet those days have passed me by never to be recaptured!


I sigh as I remember some of the physical and emotional strain of having toddlers and babies but I also recognize that those moments we had were priceless.


And I know that today is no different. Someday I will look back on these days of elementary and middle school and I will only have pictures except...


for the footprint that is left in my heart.


They have "ruined" me forever.....


In a good way...


I don't have a lot of great external accomplishments to show in my life.

I am not applauded in a vast arena of people.

I do not have a great degree behind my name.

I do not possess great wealth or beauty.


But I am irreplaceable to these people I share space with. I am the only mother they have.

I am the only woman who has been entrusted with these little lives.


The question I ask myself is this:

"What eyes am I teaching them to see with?"

When I am so hurried in my life what do they see?

Am I teaching them to move so quickly through the day that they don't have time to stop and enjoy the present?

When I'm typing on my computer and my 5 year old says to me,"mama, you tell us that we should look someone in the eyes when they speak to us, please look at me". Am I teaching them to really see and listen to others with their whole heart?


I have this one chance. This one chance to get it right!

Not a guilt inducing, I can never do it good enough, kind of thing but rather, just the acknowledgement of a responsibility that is far greater than I alone can handle.

My goal is to do this not just well...

It is to aim for excellence. To be wise. To pray for them dilligently.

In the end if the eyes truly are a window to the soul

I pray that these eyes will always be happy!