Monday, February 27, 2012

Succulent Baby & The Crying Book

We had a Greek Feast with friends the other night...and enjoyed their sweet baby!  We prayed for Baby Jack intensely when he was born early...God answered our prayers...Now he is a wonderful, fully succulent little man!
Sorry Scruffy...Jack is the cuter baby!
Well, after my Grit to Grace post of Friday...FOUR people recommended "Grace for the Good Girl" by Emily the space of about 4 hours.  SO, I bought it.  I'm just sayin'...that book should come with tissues. Sniff, sniff!

I tried to narrow it down to my favoritist quotes so far...I'm a little over halfway through it....I can't seem to STOP reading it...I'm definately going to have to read this twice...or more!

"Hiding behind that good-looking mask, her arms are folded too tightly to give and receive grace, or to fall into an embrace from God who sees beyond her good reputation."

"Anything we do to get life and identity outside of Christ is an idol, even service to Christ.  He doesn't want my service.  He wants me."

"There is a difference between the discipline of sitting down with God and the pleasure of knowing his voice."

"He is a generous, patient, compassionate God and his expectations of us are not the same as our expectations of ourselves."

"We observe and interpret reactions through our own messed-up filters so that whatever is going on with others ultimately comes back around to us."

"You have trained people to think you have no needs, but you are secretly angry with them for believing you."

"All that is mine is yours.  We already have the love and acceptance of our Father, so why do we try so hard to earn it?"

"I don't have to figure out the mess.  I do have to trust in the One who can."

 "She compares herself to rescued others and feels both less-than and better-than, proud and invisible."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: GRIT to Grace

I'm a rules loving kind of girl.  And yet, I find that I'm all bound up in rules I can't possibly keep...falling flat on my face in utter frustration.  I'm holding on by the sheer GRIT of my will...and sadly, I'm pretty strong willed.

After a recent flattening kind of day...I realized with a chuckle, that I can extend grace to all sorts of people in my life...allowing them to be human.  But, I can't extend it to myself...or accept it from God.  I will tell you that I'm saved by GRACE...and I believe that is true...but...well, I spend a lot of my time just trying SO VERY HARD!!

As I ran my miles today...a new song on my list made me cry.  For those of you who have tried crying while you ain't pretty folks. 

 "Let me know that You hear me...
Let me know Your touch...
Let me know that You love me...
Let that be enough."   

So, I'm going to proceed today...changing true GRIT to true GRACE!  He is more than enough for me!   
Oh, Lord, Help me live like it! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Math makes me cry & Better-Than-Takeout

First, my sweet Loverbrains is studying for his Masters degree and is currently reading a research paper written by one of his profs.  It cracked me up...she had this quote at the beginning...
"Medicine makes people ill, 
mathematics makes them sad, 
and theology makes them sinful."  
Martin Luther
I said, "I sure agree...math makes me cry!!"  HAHAHA!  Actually, I think I'll need to ponder this a bit more...Why would Luther write this?  I guess when we study God, THEOLOGY, it convicts of sin...hmmm?
Now, I must share this most awesome recipe from my favorite healthy crockpot cookbook!  Better-Than-Takeout Mongolian Beef.  Now, I have to put a little plug in here for buying those odd ingredients...those hard to find items.  Most of the time I don't go to the effort...but in the wintertime when my senses are numbed by the weather...and I'm attempting to eat's good to think out of the box.  And with the nice assortment in your average grocer's it's just NOT that hard...I promise!
 I made a simple side salad with lettuce, thin radishes, peppers and citrus vinaigrette.  I'll guesstimate my recipe here:  1/4 c. oj, 1/8 c. lime juice, 2 T. dijon mustard, and EVOO to emulsifyThat's a Loverbrain word...hehehe!
 Here ya go...
Better Than Takeout Mongolian Beef
3lbs lean beef bottom roast (remove extra fat)
3 cloves garlic, grated
1" knob peeled fresh ginger, minced or grated (I keep this in the freezer and snap off pieces as lasts longer!)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 T. black vinegar (the one ingredient I could not I substituted balsamic the blackest I had)
2 T. hoison sauce
1 T. five-spice powder (awesome stuff!)
1 T. cornstarch
1 t. red pepper flakes (or more:-)
1 t. sesame oil (LOVE this stuff too!)
 Put it all in the pot on low for 5 hours.  Take roast out and slice it thinly and then into strips (put paper towels around cuz otherwise the juice will pour onto the floor...don't ask me how I know this!)  Put meat back into crockpot and cook another 20 minutes or so...while you cook your noodles.  Use chop sticks for additional funtimes!
 It was delicious...I can take pictures of me holding chopsticks...TRICKY!  This meal challenged my chopstick abilities...but Loverbrains did surprises there, eh?
 Emma (our ballerina in residence) enjoyed it, too...using her fork, of course!  She wasn't crazy about the salad though.
 My pickiest eat...cleaned his plate!  Two thumbs up from this Sweet Boobah is a REAL selling point.  AMAZING!
And Scruffy approved of the leftover lickings too!  The WHOLE family loved it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Hodgepodge!

1. George Washington-Abraham Lincoln-Thomas Jefferson...who would you most like to meet and why?
Abraham, so many reasons...just his writings alone...and what he did for our country at a crucial point in our history!
2. What's your favorite chain restaurant?
This question should get lots of interesting answers...cuz even chain restaurants tend to be regional, unless they are McDonalds.  We traveled to Cinci for a funeral and were thinking how much we miss LaRosa's pizza but NOT Skyline Chili.  Around here...I guess I'd have to say...Cracker BarrelIncidentally, a new one called "Jack in the box" just opened here in Indy.  Anyone know where it originates?
3. I spied this question on the Bears at Home blog last week and she gave me permission to steal borrow it-  When you look back on your life, do you imagine you'll think about the goals you failed to meet with regret? Or will you look at what you accomplished and say: it was good?
Two verses came to mind...
Philippians 3:13-14, "One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Luke 19:17, "Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities."
4. Grapefruit-take 'em or leave 'em? Given the choice between an orange and a grapefruit which would you choose? Would you prefer it served as is or squeezed into juice?
I love a good grapefruit for breakfast in the morning.  I tend to squirt them all over the place but...hey, it's part of the fun, right?!
5. When was the last time you cleaned out a closet? Is there a closet in your home that currently needs cleaning? What are you waiting for?
I just cleaned out our closet...and I organized the shirts by rainbow color...wooo...funtimes!  ROY G BIV anyone?
6. You get to have lunch with three famous people...who would you like to see round your table?
Simon Peter (He gives me hope that God can use a big mouth like me...)  Abraham Lincoln (thinking of the first question)....and Jacqueline Winspear (one of my favorite authors)...Do they all have to come at once??  That makes this question a bit trickier...
7. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to parallel park?
Our economy car an 8...The, 4??  I probably could if I had to...I just don't put myself in those types of situations.  Parking garage!!  Wootwoot!
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm on a role today...Went to the gym, did all the laundry, swept and mopped the floors and took a shower with time remaining to blog before the Sweet Boobahs "quiet time" ends.  I'm exhausted.  Phew!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

We got many wonderful LOVING Valentine's from Grandparents and GREAT Grandparents...
...the stickers were put to immediate use...except for some that MomE set aside for a rainy day! 
The little artist has a stack of "projects"...It ought to keep her busy for...oh, a day or so!
I got a Valentine with a PRINCESS on it...from a little boy who only draws Star Wars Robots most of the time!  I feel special!!
My sweetheart Emma drew a bird and butterfly....and a heart with an arrow...and some words that she can spell!! 
But, my favorite comes from my GEEKy husband...who proved, in a differential equation, that I take womanhood to the positive limit!  Hehehe...gotta love how he puts his Master's classes to good use!
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bundle of Comfort...

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you 
the reason for the hope that is in you.
But do this with gentleness and respect" 
1 Peter 3:15
I know I will not have the time for much more than a hug in the receiving line...some shared tears... 
So, I'm going prepared...with a dozen well loved verses of comfort...
...lovingly wrapped in a fabric bundle...
...hugged into the bundle with prayer and love...
....tied up with a bow...So, she can read them when she's too tired to look them up...and be reminded of God's faithfulness in this valley!

Do you know someone who could use a bundle of comfort?

Friday, February 10, 2012

5 Minutes Friday: TRUST

And again, “I will put my trust in him.” 
And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”  
Hebrews. 2:13
I'm so excited about going to Emma's Valentine's Friendship Party today.  We even made ribbon roses to we'll match.  I wonder how long she'll continue to enjoy these matchy times?
I know that today will be a struggle to TRUST though...because every time I get into a classroom...I miss being there.  I question...again and again...God's timing. 
I detest being a "room Mom"...mostly cuz I'd rather be the teacher...but it's also that room Mom's are just so pushy and alpha, cliquey packs of everything I don't like about groups of women.   *Sigh*...I find myself looking for those quiet, helpful tasks to do for the teacher...things I know the other Moms don't want to do...and things that the teacher will have to do herself before she can go home.

This season of staying at home isn't easy for me, requiring lots of TRUSTing...and I have to turn it over to God...again and again...the manic cyclical chores sometimes threaten to drive me quite mad!  I know my honesty may bother those who feel all Moms are called to stay at home forever and ever amen.  But, it's not for me...forever anyway.  
I often feel stuck...and conflicted.  I know that I should just TRUST...and spend time fully enjoying this blessed season at home.  But, I also know that the desire of my heart is to teach...that I've been blessed with a gift in the classroom...and that that day of return is approaching.  I find myself I wanting to "jump the gun" and fix licenses, check out preschools because of a lack of TRUST in God's timing?...or is it the Holy Spirit whispering...and saying the season is coming to an end. 
I guess the best way to look at it...God is teaching TRUST.  He will make His plans clear for me.  Today, I'm off to be the most helpful room Mom in the Kindergarten class...and the best matchy Mom to my girlie!

"I am teaching you today--yes, you--so you will trust in the LORD."  Proverbs 22:19

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine Hodgepodge

1. What is something you are loving right now?
I'm really enjoying my Kindle Fire.  This surprises me...because I'm a real loyalist where old fashioned books are concerned.  But, I just love being able to cart my Study Bible and 3 translations to church or Bible study...and they weigh less than a paperback.  If I did that with the hard copies, I'd need a backpack!  I also really enjoy reading the paper...actually reading the articles cuz I don't have to mess with the newsprint and can just scan through for the headlines I'm interested in...nice and clean!  I will never give up my beloved books...but I am loving this new technology.

2. Paris, Venice, New York, and Rome are considered four of the most romantic cities in the world. Which one would you most like to visit?
Paris...Loverbrains went there without me while on business...and has promised to take me there.  I'm very excited...happily pinning romantic pictures to hold my dreams up!

3. Are you a romantic?
Yes...although I like to think of myself as much more stable and realistic.  HA!

4. What's your favorite love story made for the Big Screen?
Pride and Prejudice...such a lame-o answer, right!  Not the Colin one...ick! I like the Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden one!

5. Everyone loves Pooh bear and friends...which character are you most like and why? Click here for help in answering this question.
According to the quiz I'm Winnie the Pooh...I'd have said Rabbit...but hey, that's an improvement.  I'll take a nice Pooh bear any day!

6. What's the best chocolate something you've ever eaten?
I really love Ghirardelli chocolate that has that Raspberry filling...oooo...yeah!  I've forbidden Loverbrains from buying it for me...cuz I don't want the temptation in the house.

7. Share a favorite quote about love.
"The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost."  GK Chester

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I need to stop thinking of weekends as empty or full..and just start enjoying them for being whatever they turn out to be...It seems that this weekend I will be attending a funeral and not building bookshelves after all...And yet, how can I begrudge that time to my friends...who need to see us in be hugged and KNOW we care.  I can't...and I wouldn't like myself if I could.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Soli Deo Gloria: How do I LISTEN when I pray?

"Prayer is a conversation between two people that love each other."
As I continue to study and look into this new word, LISTEN...I realize more and more it's connection with prayer.  So, I continue to strive to pray...more often.  "Praying without ceasing" like it says in 1 Thes. 5:17, is a concept that has always given me slight anxiety.  I've used prayer hooks and scripture hooks in the past to help me out....but the best explanation I've heard is that it's an attitude of prayer.  

The more I remember that God is my friend...and realize the Holy Spirit's always dwelling in this body of mine...the more comfortable I can be with chatting along to Him throughout my day.  He wants that constant dialogue.  That also means I need to LISTEN to the One who loves me...not just talk His ear off cuz I love Him.

So, I decided to put an idea into practice...not fully sure of my expectations or rules for the idea.  I found a cute, little turquoise dry erase board for my command center.   I had seen prayer boards on Pinterest.  They involved scraps of paper or sticky notes...which didn't appeal to my sense of clean and order.  So, I just winged it...
I wrote PRAY and LISTEN at the a reminder to myself that I need to LISTEN for the Holy Spirit's direction in my life and prayers.  Before, the things that would burden my heart throughout the day, I'd just cart them about with me...Incidentally, often when I get off of phone calls or finish reading e-mail I have these prayer burdens zipping through my heart....NOW, I go to praying... right away.  Duh, right?!

So, I wrote them down...I used initials...and only wrote things that I would sit down and pray with that person right at that moment.  Sidenote: if you're going to do careful of people's feelings.  If you can't pray it out loud in front of them...then don't post that prayer  for all the world or family to see.  DO pray about it though...just maybe in a private journal or your head.'s where the LISTEN part came neat!
I would often write down initials...chattering at God internally about what my heart desired or the burden I felt for them...and then as I walked away and tried to LISTEN...I'd KNOW...strongly...what do pray/how to feel for them.  Sorry, I don't agree with the whole audible voice thang...but I knew He was speaking to me.  That's really hard to put into words.  Phew...So, I'd scurry back to the board and write that under the initials.

Example that I can share:  I wrote good health...and then we all got sick.  That very day, Caleb threw up in my back seat.  I would pass this board and chatter at says good health but this isn't...oh, what is your me...etc...And as we got better...I realized that health would be RESTORED...I almost wrote that...but then, I realized that God really wants to RENEW me...not just physically, but spiritually.  He wants that for our family...bigger than my eyes could originally see.

Psalm 119:18, "Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions."

So, each week...I erase and start again...some go right back up...but's just an exercise in LISTENING!  Maybe it'll be something for you to try too.

Monday, February 6, 2012

WIW: Encouraged!

While reading 44 Scotland Street by A. McCall Smith, I came across the following and it made me feel happy about being at home with my Sweet Boobahs.  

"The whole point about childhood, " Domenica went on, "is that it affords us a brief moment of innocence and protection from the pressures of the world.  Parents who push their children too hard intrude on that little bit of space.  And of course they make their children massively anxious.  You weren't pushed by your parents, were you?"  Pat shook her head.  "Not at all. I was encouraged, but not pushed."  "There's a big difference, " said Domenica.  

I found out this morning that I was going to be participating in a Sprinkle for a friend who just adopted a precious baby.  All the girls from the gym wanted to share a small, sweet token of love for her without it being a big 'ole Shower! 

So, I used my Pinterest boards...for the first time...and made a set of burpies.  They will be great for that cute little dribbly chin.  One side is flannel and the other pretty cotton.  
Just put front sides together....I pin everything!!
Sew all the way around, leaving a small opening for turning it right side out again.
Poke your finger in the corners to make sure they're pushed out...and top stitch all the way around!
IRON it all pretty! 
VOILA!..2 pretty burpies in HALF an HOUR!  Mine were approx. 24" X 12"
Becoming a Proverbs 31 Lady..."She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness: Party Pooper!

As I've mentioned before, I'm a party pooper when it comes to these tag thangs.  They just feel eerily like chain letters.  No matter how much I like the catchy ideas or questions, I just can't find the time to do all the linkage involved in this process.  I barely get out coherent blogs these days anyway, it seems.  So, I shall graciously bow out.  But since I generally engage in Caffeinated Randomness on Fridays...I will answer sweet Michelle's questions!
1.  What was the last book you read?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot...It wasn't my usual choice of genre...I read it for bookclub.  It was highly educational though...and I'm glad I read it!

2.  What's your favorite place?
In the house?  MY chair...with my coffee, my puter, my Bible.  OR, maybe in front of my sewing machine...alone...without Sweet Boobahs buggin' me!

3.  Preschool or No Preschool?  What is your opinion?
I'm a no preschool type.  I was a teacher before staying home with the kids...and I just feel that they are in over their heads...stuffed full of academics...too soon anyway.  Since I have the ability and blessing of offering them a few years home with me...that's what I'll do.  Although I am NOT interested in homeschooling...I do see the privilege of giving leisure and whimsy to their childhoods.  Unlike many of my friends, I'm not worried that they will be desperately behind in Kindergarten...nor am I that desperate to have ME time. 

4.  What is your favorite thing about Pinterest.
It helps me divide the line between COVETOUSNESS...and CREATIVITY.  Some sites are just set for you to want things you can't/shouldn't have or afford...Pinterest is set to get your ideas flowing...ideas sharing...IT'S GREAT!

5.  Who are your children named after?
NO ONE...on purpose!  We gave them each THEIR OWN NAMES.  There were many family options.  The ones I liked, the family members, I just went with what I liked...with NORMAL spellings.  I am a teacher, after all.

6.   Can you tell the difference been a T-Rex and a Gigantasauraus?
Um, no...but I recently discovered that my Loverbrains knows all the dinosaur names...and was teaching them to our four year old while playing with little plastic dinosaurs the other night.  WOW!

7.  Do you let your kids walk to school alone?
Emma rides the bus each morning...and I'm with her EVERY DAY...In fact, I have the entire bus stop in my van most cold mornings.  This has been gives me the opportunity to pray with them before school...and plant seeds of TRUTH in their lives.  I do worry about kidnapping...but I also worry about someone kicking someone, yada yada yada...She's just too little right her little brother wants to wait with the big kids and wave to the bus with MomE.

8.  Do you have one day a week where you are lazy and just relax?
Sunday...I ALWAYS take a nap.  Don't call!

9.  Beside the typical Chinese, Mexican and Italian, what is your favorite ethnic food?
My husband and I really enjoy Cajun/Creole, Greek and Indian food.  We're currently debating our next date night location.  There's a new Indian place we want to check out...but after just having the stomach flu...we might go mild and just do Cracker Barrel.  Hehehe!

10. Do you post pictures of your family on Facebook?
Yes...if I stay on Facebook...I'm dis-enchanted...once again.  I'm about to boycott for another 3 years or so.  Don't get me started on my list of reasons...

11.  If you watch a movie based on a book, do you read the book first or after?
ALWAYS...I read the book first...and it NEVER remotely compares.  Occasionally they do okay...The Help was actually well done.  That's high praise from me.  I'm going to watch The Hunger Games....I do not have high hopes.  There is just NO WAY to capture it all in a movie.  Sorry.  I'll eat my words if I have to...but I doubt it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Hodgepodge!

1. It's that most wonderful time of the season! Do you complete your own returns or farm that job out to the professionals?
I gladly allow my sweet Loverbrains to do this job.  He uses Turbo Tax and he always gets it done early.  He's wonderful like that!

2. This next question comes from Kansas Bob...he posed it in his response to something I asked in an earlier Wednesday post and I asked him if I could add it to the Hodgepodge some day. Today's the day....  Which do you think has changed you more-love or pain?
Pain..."Perseverance [amid trials] must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:4 with my emphasis

3. Tangerine Tango has been named color of the year for 2012. Your thoughts? Would I find this color anywhere in your house? How about in your closet? If not, will you be adding this color to your life in some way in 2012? If you're not sure what tangerine tango looks like click here.
That's kind of funny...cuz I was just looking at my quilting stash thinking...I really should add something from the orange family.  Whatever I do add I'll be sure to call it Tangerine Tango.  Oui, what a name!  My foyer is bright yellow...called Number Two Pencil!

4. Are you a collector? What do you collect and does it get admired, used, and/or dusted regularly?
I collect cobalt blue bottles!  I don't dust them as often as I should...but I do admire them as they twinkle in my front windows!

5. February is National Heart Month...besides a green salad what is one tasty heart healthy dish you like to prepare?
We really enjoy Salmon with Quinoa on the side.  Quinoa is a great prepare it pretty much like rice...and I add a T. of Cajun spice for kick!  The kids love it too!

6. When was the last time you had car trouble?
Two weeks ago.  I have a new control arm...which cost me a lot less than a new transmission...which is what I was originally told was wrong with it.  Phew!  Thank God for paid off vehicles...even though they break down, it's still cheaper than a payment!

7. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Is that a good trend?
I've been more some ways.  I'm exercising regularly and eating better.  Good trend.  And...I'm making myself cut myself some slack...remembering that my job is to be a good MomE and wife...not have a perfect house.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Gotta love 60 degrees in February!  We had lunchtime outside on the screen porch today!  Woohoo!