Saturday, December 31, 2011

#1 John 15:1-2 Edward Scissorhands I am not April 26

And the winner is.... Edward Scissorhands!  This one was way ahead of all the other with 96 page views.  #2 was at 51.  So this by far the most popular post of 2011.  With this year coming to a close and the new year opening before us, this post seems like a wonderful way to celebrate this time.  I hope you have enjoyed this countdown and your family.  I pray this new year will bring you growth, pruning, love, and peace.  Enjoy and God Bless!!


In the movie Edward Scissorhands takes several big green blobs and shapes them into something beautiful. I can't really do that.

Today I took some time to start the gardening process in my new yard. Unfortunately my new yard has been neglected for some time, so I have quite a battle ahead of me. I got 3 bushes trimmed. It took me an hour and a half, so trimmed probably isn't the best word.  I cut them down to about 1/3 of their size. About 5 minutes into my job, I stopped thinking about what it would look like and just cut out as much as I could. (BTW, they ended up a decent size which was my goal.  Pretty? I don't know.) That got me to thinking, I'm glad God doesn't garden like me. I just hacked at it and cut off everything I could. I found many places that were overgrown and starting to budge in on other plants.  There were dead areas that no one bothered to cut out. There were live areas that took a whole lot of effort to cut out. With every bush, there was at least 1 other plant growing up through it. I'm not too good at cutting something, then removing it. So sometimes I cut the same piece two or three times. I'm not a good gardener. I'm glad God is.

Of course, as I was working I couldn't help but think of the parallels to the Christian life in what I was doing.
1. God doesn't hack at us. He gently prunes. Pruning isn't easy, but it sure is better than hacking. Because if we aren't pruned, we start growing into places we weren't meant to be. Our branches start getting in the way of other people. Our roots start pushing other roots out of the way and starving some.
2. The overgrown parts happened because someone didn't care for them. Pruning is a part of the caring for us process that God has. God loves us enough to prune us a little here and there, just like a good gardener does. Are you loving others enough to help prune them?
3. Our dead areas need to be cut away as well. If not, they are just taking up valuable space in our lives. Are you holding on to any of your dead parts?
4. If we aren't pruned, then some things take hold and it becomes very hard and painful to cut them out. However even when it is painful, these parts still need to be cut out. Is there something deep rooted you need to cut out? Do you need to help someone with they are cutting out?
5. When you do cut something out, throw it away. Don't leave it hanging around. It will only get in the way of other stuff. You might waste your time and energy cutting at it again when it is unnecessary. It might be covering up something else you do need to cut out. Just because something isn't a problem for you anymore, doesn't mean you still need it around.

God takes a big blobs and forms them into something beautiful as well. Just like in Edward Scissorhands, this process involves some trimming here and there. But all this trimming really is for our good. It prevents more painful hacking later. There are those we see everyday who are going through this hacking process. Let's not judge too harshly when we find that. Let us try to support them through it all. Let us be more like God the gardener.

Friday, December 30, 2011

#2 I have nothing to add September 8

This original post was on You, Me, and Jesus.  I'm glad to be able to share it here as well.  I am glad to see that this is so high on the countdown.  Maybe that means there are lots of people think the same thing.  


The 10th anniversary of 9-11 is coming up on Sunday.  I have seen advertisements for TV specials and magazine articles about the subject.  I have had a couple students mention it.  And it feels odd to me.
Every year I feel out of place about this topic.  Some people tell stories of where they were and what they thought.  I rarely talk about me. I'm more apt to tell a story about my husband or some of his friends.  However that feels a bit like a betrayal.  Those that were there are the ones that suffered and deserve the day to remember or forget.  Those that are fighting and the family thereof deserve the day to remember.  To me, telling my story seems so insignificant.  Telling their story doesn't feel like my business.  So I have nothing to add to the conversation.  Therefore these few words are all I have to say about it.  

The only thing more I could say is that I pray for those who do have something to add.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#3 A love story: The Conclusion August 12

These 2 posts about my love affair with Dimaggio's pizza were very well received as both of them showed up on this countdown.  I was a bit surprised that this one showed up higher than the first installment.  As an epilogue to the story, we visited Dimaggio's again over Christmas.  That story is for another post though.


So a couple weeks ago I posted about how excited I was to go visit Dimaggio's and get a mushroom pizza. I did get to eat a mushroom pizza at Dimaggio's. However, there were a few other unexpected events and I fear these unexpected events may bring an end to this love affair. Read on if you have the heart to see the end of a good thing.

Wed. Night came along and it was time to be reunited with my love and I got to hang out with my family too.  Mom, Aunt, Cousin, Drew, Ben and I arrived at Dimaggio's and it wasn't too busy. For those of you that haven't been there, it is a small cozy restaurant. There are maybe 20 or 25 tables and booths in the dining room. There is a private room that can be rented or opened depending on patronage that night. With 6 of us eating, we sat at a circular table in the middle of the dining room.

Things were going well. Ben was being cute and not too loud. We ordered and I got my mushroom and bacon pizza. I even did my first Facebook check in for the occasion. We got our pizza and put some on Ben's plate. Then it happened. He saw the Parmesan cheese. You all have been there right? Tell me you've been there. Your 2 year old becomes obsessed with something. You try to distract him and he's having none of it. He wants his thing and if he doesn't get it he's going to cause a scene.

Remember this is a small restaurant with one open dining area. There is nowhere to hide. I could take him to the bathroom for his fit or a spanking or both, but this is family time. The twice a year family time. I don't want to ruin it with a sobbing screaming toddler even in the bathroom. We could leave, but everyone just started eating and we all came together. So I just let him have some cheese. He ate a little pizza and wanted more cheese. I gave him more, but he wasn't satisfied. He wanted the cheese shaker. I gave in like weak little weakling. (No metaphors came to mind.). He shook a little pile of cheese on his pate and put the shaker down. I tried to move it, but he wasn't having it. He got it back and shook out some more. He ate his little pile of cheese with his fingers and kept shaking. This went on for the rest of the meal. He used the entire shaker of cheese. He ate some of it, but much of it was left on his plate. I am growing mortified at the pile left on his plate and the empty shaker on the table. I don't have to come back here, but the rest of my family does. Everyone knows who I am and now they see what a wasteful, irresponsible parent that I am. I have to make it better.

I only have a couple pieces of pizza left. I gather some of the cheese and put it on my pizza. Thankfully Ben doesn't complain. I eat a piece and prepare the next. I get halfway through it and there is still more cheese. So I empty the rest of the cheese on my half a piece. Then Graceful Me decides to make an appearance and I drop the plate. I don't even know how I did it. The floor is carpeted so the plate lands safely on the floor, but so does all the cheese. A large pile of cheese is now settling into the carpet. You know the restaurant grade solid packed carpeting. Did I mention it is a dark green almost black color. Parmesan cheese shows up on that carpeting. There's nothing to be done. I was the last one to finish eating.

I pick up my plate and we pick up our checks. We comment that we need to leave nice tips and do. We joke that they will put up pictures of Ben and I and not let us back in. We get to the van and move on to McDonald's for dessert coffee. Mom drops off Aunt and Cousin at their homes. We go back to our home for the week. The night has ended and I think, "Is this love story ended as well?"


The answer to that is no because a couple days later we had Dimaggio's pizza delivered. Ben ate and the Parmesan cheese didn't make an appearance.

If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy a couple other adventures in eating that I have shared. Well they involve food anyway.

Bad Service = God's Plan
A love story

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#4 Home and private schooling August 5

Originally these thoughts were shared over at You, Me, and Jesus.  It sparked a little bit of a debate, which contributed to this one arriving at #4 on our countdown.  It also taught me a little something as well.  I hope you have been enjoying this as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.  The top 3 will be revealed soon.

I am not trying to make you mad.

I have an honest question that I would like opinions on. There are many arguements both for and against home and private schooling. As a Christian mother and public school teacher, I really only have one big question. Before I get there though, I would like to dispose of a couple talking points. Socialization of these kids comes up, but that is a pretty large issue and rather dependent on individual child, so we aren't talking about that.

I do also understand that there are some children that need to be in classes of 3 to 5 kids, but they are few and far between. I understand there are academic advantages to private schools as well as well prepared home schools. However I think there are ways to interact with the public schools and achieve this. I understand that there are burnt out teachers and bullies that can do harm to a child, but for this discussion I would hope your Christian child living in a Christian home would believe in his/ her worth according to God.  I would also hope he/she was taught about the sorrow, anger and pain those without God must live in. So I'm not sure taking him/her out is a healthy answer for the Christian child.

I also understand hoe the current school system fails boys every day. Therefore I understand the desire to give them a little more maturing time. I also realize there are plenty of non-Christians attending private schools. However, being there they hear the gospel often whereas non- Christians in public school don't. I also understand there are non-Christian concepts taught as fact in school today. But once again a Christian child in a Christian home should not be swayed by these things.

So with those points out of the way, I have a question. How does a parent reconcile The Great Commission that is give to every Christian including children with the separation of these other schooling methods? I have seen multiple examples of Christian students making a significant impact for God amongst their peers. Some have even been brought to salvation because of the example of these kids. Should we protect them from these negative things when this is the world Jesus sent them too? At what point is it detrimental to the Kingdom when we are making it better for our kids?

Once again, I am not trying to make anyone mad. I am simply wondering where our parental and Christian responsiblities lie. Please share your opinions with me. I have not made up my mind. I simply don't see the other side of this discussion, so please show it to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Big Changes!!

Some big changes are coming in the new year in my little corner of the blogosphere!  I read Bryan Allain's 31 Days to your Blogging Mojo and loved it.  I got so many ideas of what I want to do.  The biggest one is that my other blog is moving here!  It will be moving on or near January 1st.

You may or may not know that I have 2 blogs.  With the coming new year, I will only have one.  I'm going to combine the other one, The Travels of a Wandering Mind, with this one.  Although the other one gets more traffic and has more subscribers, I think my new focus goes better with this one.  I hope they all follow me over here and like the new-ish direction I am taking this.  I will be focusing more on stories from my life that will hopefully make you and me better in our relationships, better wives, mothers, sisters, nieces, friends, employees, Christians, brothers, sons, husbands, nephews, grandkids, etc.  You get the idea.  I'm also hoping to talk more about various charities/missions groups/whatever.  I want this to be an area that can connect you with an organization that you can become passionate about.  You can be improving the relationships of people across the world or across the street.  I'm not saying that every post will talk about relationships or that every post will be a story.  I'm hoping to work into a comfortable format that does this.

I will be revamping my 'About Me' page over here.  I'm going to change the the look.  I hope you will all enjoy the new look and focus here and join me in this new blogging venture.

Monday, December 26, 2011

#5 A Love Story July 20

You all know by now that I love to post about food.  Normally I am talking about that here.  In July I thought I would share this food tale with the readers of You, Me, and Jesus just for something a little different.  They liked it enough to move it up to #5.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful husband today!  


It happened in Mrs. Drake's 8th grade English class. We were doing demonstration speeches. I was terrified of doing mine because I had no skills to demonstrate. My mom (or was it dad?) came up with mini pizzas (a little bit of cheese, sauce, pepperonis on an English muffin). I had never made them before, but it was portable and easily shared. So I gave my speech early and settled in to listen to the rest, little did I know one of those rest would change my life.

There is only one of the other speeches I remember. None of the others mattered really. Joe Dimaggio, not the baseball player, got up to give his speech. His family owned the Italian restaurant in town. Dad, Mom, Jon, and I ate there regularly because they had pizza and everyone knows that is the best "eating out" meal you can have.  So it's no surprise that Joe spoke about pizza making. He totally showed me up, but I didn't mind. He may have even thrown the dough. (If he didn't, it sounds good for the story.) So he told us all about making pizza dough. He showed us how to roll it out and threw it in the air. His was the best and most interesting speech. Of course I may be biased. He ended his speech with a brief summary of the rest of the pizza process and then it happened. Sharing time! He had two different kinds of pizza. One that isn't worth mentioning (because I forgot). And the other was heavenly. It had to be straight from God himself, right off the banquet table!

It was mushroom pizza. Not just any mushroom pizza, but Dimaggio's mushroom pizza. I've tried others over the years, but they just don't measure up. The fresh mushroom and the amazing amount of cheese with the perfectly spiced sauce on top of the handmade perfectly cooked crust and then cut into squares! It just doesn't get any better. It was there in that decades old classroom where hundreds of speeches had been given that I fell in love... with Dimaggio's mushroom pizza.
Unfortunately my love is far away from me and our relationship has become strained from distance. However, we will be reuniting soon. In a couple weeks the family and I will be visiting Fairfield. My love and I will be reuniting! So if you are in the area of Fairfield IL, and by area I mean if you are in Illinois, Indiana, or Missouri, go and visit them. Get a pizza. I prefer mushroom and bacon, but all of them are awesome. You will not regret it!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

#6 Guest post and a new feature July 18

This one surprised me.  It was originally posted on The Travels of a Wandering Mind.  I'm not sure what about this post made people want to read it, but I'm glad they did.  I hope it made them want to read some on Jeff's blog too.  His blog is really, really good!  I hope you enjoy the poem and take a few minutes and hop over to check out Jeff's blog.  And MERRY CHIRSTMAS!!!


First of all, I am very excited to announce I have made my very first guest post! I was and still am super nervous. What if I don't have anything to say? Well, I found something to say, but what if no one likes it?! I guess you should head over and go find out. While you are there, read the rest of the stuff Jeff has written about. He's got some good stuff.

ALSO, I am going to start a weekly feature. Yes I mean, I will be posting something on a specific day every week. Aren't you amazed! Today will begin the Monday is my Muse feature. At least that's what I'm going to call it until I think of something better. I will be posting a poem I have written or I will post a favorite poem of mine. Today I am posting one that I wrote just this weekend.


Some days when you forget who you were
And don't know what you will be,
Who you are seems very far.
Sit down and look around.
Look through memory albums of the past.
Look through the Book of your future.
And now comes back into focus.
You remember who you were.
You confirm who you will be.
Then who you are is not so far.
It is right there in your hand.

Creative Commons License
Now? by Andrea Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, December 23, 2011

#7 Phonaphobia September 15

Starting a new school year brings lots of thoughts and challenges.  This was one for me and I guess people liked reading it because it is number 7 on our list.

At the beginning of the school year, we got a new principal.  That is always scary.  You know, new person, new ideas, new ways.  Things like turning in lesson plans, ugh!  Turning in a pacing guide, double ugh.  A new schedule and some new duties, when is it going to stop!  Oh and then he said the worst thing of all.  Positive parent phone calls!  It was too much, so I just focused all my energy into everything else, the lesson plans, pacing guide, kinks in the new schedule, and learning new duties.  A couple weeks in and I feel like a pro.  Then I look down at my parent call list. Names and numbers are there followed by empty boxes.  The boxes are staring me down and forcing me to run away.  I just can't do it!  It isn't the parent part that bothers me.  It is the phone call part.  An email or a letter I can handle, but he asked for a voice to be heard.  So I must use the phone.

Maybe this phonaphobia doesn't make sense to you.  In which case you are probably one of those amazing polite small talk people.  I am not.  I am the worst ever!  Ordering pizza is something I have to psyche myself up for.  Mostly Drew does that because I just don't like the phone.  Yesterday, I called 3 people before it occurred to me to end the conversation with have a nice day.  Yes 3!    It just doesn't come natural to me.  I think that is the main reason why I don't like calling on the phone.  Ben will tell you.  My cell rings and he says, "DeeDee"because my mom is the only person I talk to on the phone.

Tuesday night I started psyching myself up for the task.  I continued to work up to it on yesterday.  During planning, I sat down to read the Bible and God started prodding me also.  So I sucked it up and made the calls.  Well, a couple.  The first one was horrible!  I stumbled over my words and forgot to properly introduce myself.   And of course it ended with an awkward goodbye.  The second and third got better.  By number 4, I was remembering have a nice day.  Then the phone didn't want to work.  I was able to squeeze 2 more calls out of it.  (One of which was an awesome conversation.) But I still have like 10 more!

This can't be happening.  I was prepared to do this yesterday, but it didn't work out.  So I'll have psyche myself up again, have one horrible conversation, and several good ones.  So this morning I have started with biscuits and gravy and some AMAZING Honduran coffee.  I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can

Have you faced a fear lately?  How did it go?  If not, is there a fear you should be facing?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

#8 Last year: The day we bollixed it July 28

This post was a repost from 2010.  When I was on vacation this summer, I knew I wouldn't have time to write the regular number of posts, so I reposted one.  Evidently people liked reading it.  

So as I said Monday, I'm on vacation in Illinois visiting my family. So I thought I would repost one from last year. After reading through a few, this one seemed good. And WOW am I glad that Ben sleeps through the night consistently now.

Original post: 6/28/10

So last Thursday had to be one of the most "interesting" days I have had. So we get up and Drew is going to work for a little bit before Ben's gymnastics class. Hopefully, he'll get enough done to go with us. Yay for family time right? Not so much. Drew didn't get any work done because his computer went kaput. Total kaput.

So Ben and I go to class. This week like last week, Ben just wants to run around. He isn't interested in any of the gymnastics things. He just runs. I get him to try to climb on or over a couple things and he giggles. Then goes back to running. He stops and climbs up the back of one of those things they use to jump on the balance beam and what not. He climbs up the back and runs down it. He seems to think that's fun so I thought maybe it would be fun for the both of us to run up the big (like 2 feet tall at the most) wedge mat thingy. So we ran up it and jumped off. Fun right? Not so much.

When we jumped off, we landed on a slope, which I didn't expect, so I landed funny on my foot. Ben runs off laughing and the teacher of the group is paranoid because I'm hurt. Of course she is thinking, please don't sue us and shortly followed by I hope you are okay. She goes to get Ben and bring him back to me. I sit there for a minute and get up and walk on it. It hurts, but it seems pretty okay. We finish the class. She hopes I get to feeling better and we head home. As I walk out to the car and drive home, my foot starts hurting a little more and I'm laughing at myself because I hurt myself at a 1 and 2 year old gymnastics class.

I get home and Drew sees that I have hurt myself, but I tell him I'm mostly okay. Then he tells me about his morning. Yes his computer is totally dead and I had the keys to his car, so he couldn't go get a new one. He started trying to work on mine. First he had to load the software on mine and set it up, which took some doing. Then he started to try to use it, but he has to use the F1 to F5 keys. Most computers not a problem. My computer, he has to hit the function key and then hit the F1, etc. So it's going SLOWLY for him. His plan had been to go to Best Buy and get what he needed while I kept Ben and then we go on like normal. Except now I have hurt my foot and it is hurting more by the minute.

Now we're really in a pickle, his work is going to take him twice as long because he's working on a foreign computer and is due by 6pm. He has to run after Ben because I can't. And possibly most importantly, do I need to go to the doctor? If so, how do we fit that in? Well, I have never broken, sprained, etc. a body part, so I really have no clue what either one feels like. My foot is not swelling and there is no bruising. So we decide to elevate it and ice it and see what happens. Well, what happens is that it HURTS!! I bug Drew a time or two about how do I know if I broke it? We go back to the doctor conversation. We decide that it's probably a bad sprain and keep elevating and icing it.

Ben is behaving super! He's not getting into any of the stuff he isn't supposed to and he is playing by himself very well. So we're going along pretty good until late afternoon. Drew is going to go to Best Buy and get a computer. What to do with Ben? He goes to Nana's. I get to relax, Drew gets a new computer, and Ben gets Nana time. All's well right? Mmmm... not so much.

Ben didn't get his whole nap out because he fell asleep before lunch. He got up hungry and ate pretty good, but it was late. Nana gave him a pretty good snack, which some days is the size of his dinner. The toddler tummy is a fun thing! Ben comes home exhausted, so we play a little and then he goes to bed. I'm thinking well, he must have gotten full with his snack. He's not acting hungry, so sleeping a little early is okay. Drew finished working, I kept relaxing, and Ben is sleeping. Rough day, but it's ending nicely right? Nope, not over yet.

I normally get Ben back to sleep when he wakes up, which recently has been rarely and only with a little whining. A smidgen of a back rub and he's back asleep. However, with my foot, Drew is going to get Ben tonight. Poor Drew. Ben wakes up a little madder than usual a little before 2 am. Drew tries my tricks to get him back to sleep. Nothing doing. Drew brings him to bed to see if I can help. Ben roots and rolls and flips and flops. None of us get back to sleep and Ben gets more angry. So by the time he's really screaming we realize he might be hungry or thirsty. We try some milk in a sippy. Nothing. We try some Cheerios. Nothing.  He's still screaming. We call Nana, yes at 2 am. She is wonderful and doesn't mind this. She tells us to come over and we'll figure out if he's sick, ear infection pain or something, hungry, or something else. The ride to Nana's helped calm him down. He eats some yogurt and some Cheerios. He drinks a sippy full of milk. He then thinks it's time to play. So we play for a little bit and about 4 am, Ben starts to get tired. We go home. He goes to bed and we go to bed. Finally the day is over.

Moral of the story, even if physically things are going wrong and work is going wrong, don't forget to feed your kid or no one gets to sleep. So yeah, that is the story of the day we bollixed it. Thankfully, God gives us chances to start over and Friday was much better.

ONE MORE NOTE: Because of the ankle, Drew had to go to a quinceanera that was all in Spanish. I don't make it easy for him!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#9: Where is my heart? June 24

This one was originally posted on my other blog, You, Me, and Jesus.  After coming back from Honduras, I was feeling a lot of things.  Often we expect to get from God and what we receive are two different things.  Looking back on this, I said something about focusing on what is in front of me.  I have been doing a lot of that recently.  Working right where God has put me has been my focus for that last few months.  So I guess I did that.

I had a much more detached and cerebral post planned, but I can't do it. I have to pour out my heart and tell you everything I'm thinking. Not just because this is my blog and that's what I'm supposed to do, but because this is a community based on Christ and transparency is essential.

The week I spent in Honduras has changed me. "Well duh!" you say. I know that's what mission trips are supposed to do and I expected some change. I didn't expect this much change or for such a struggle when I returned. Going down there I had a few ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. Things like reconnecting with Latin America to share with my colleagues when I returned and getting some good ideas for the classes I'm teaching in the fall. I was thinking of this trip as a way to connect me to my new responsibilities at my job. And it has done that some.

I expected to be more appreciative of what I have and I am. I have really been enjoying simply watching TV with Drew, eating as a family, and playing with Ben. The simple act of getting a glass of water has become special. I am beginning to realize what a luxury it is and I'm taking advantage of it. I don't feel like I need soda or tea. I am genuinely enjoying drinking water. Having a closet full of clothes and a paved road to walk on are things I see with new eyes. These are things that I hope to take with me from now on. This appreciation is something I hope to hold on to. Even now, sitting here listening to Ben scream because he doesn't want to take a nap. I realize that these moments are special even when they try your patience. God has blessed me TREMENDOUSLY to be able to live here in the U.S. with anything I want within reach. There are certainly problems and things we could learn from other places, but we are also very lucky.

What I didn't expect was the kids. Each individual kid was SOOO amazing. They are hard working, creative, and loving. They are fun and humorous. They are honest and just. They get along wonderfully with each other. I may spell some names wrong, but I need to mention each one. Paola, Milda, Liliana, Malena, Dionora, Maria, Dania, Joselin, Eva, Luz, Dariela, Maycol, Junior, Bayron, Oscar, Edin, Moises, Raul, Haroll, Jonatan, Axell, Luis, and Denis. And I can't forget to mention some of the AMAZING women who work there, Alicia, Gloria, and Maricarmen. I am in love with this place and these people. I could go on and on about the special things about each one, but I'll reserve that for another post. I am ready to go back there right now. I am genuinely missing these kids. I'm here at home feeling not so useful. It seems that there is so much left to do. If these kids were adoptable (their parents can't raise them, but they still have guardianship.), I would have honestly come home and started adoption proceedings. I know I'm not the only one of my group that felt that way.

I am repeating "Not my will, but Yours be done." I'm hoping I'll start meaning that soon. I hope I begin to focus again on what needs to be done in front of me here and now instead of obsessing over what is out of my control. I need to have faith that God has a special plan for each one of these children. I don't have to plan it or be a part of that plan. Bottom line, I didn't expect to leave part of my heart in Honduras and I'm not really sure what to do about it either.

In case you want a little lighter review of the trip check out my other post and Katie Hawkins

Linking up with Casey for "What is on your heart?" Friday.


Monday, December 19, 2011

New Web Address

Okay, so I randomly decided today to change the address of this blog.  It is now

Hopefully this will be easier to find and remember!

#10 : Blogging - March 01

For the last 2 weeks of the year I will doing a countdown of the 10 most popular blogs of 2011 between my 2 blogs.  Let me say there is an honorable mention.  It goes to one of my last blogs of 2010.  If it was in 2011 it would have been #3, so close.  Honorable mention goes to....  Good blog topic?

Onto the countdown... #10 is my blog from March 1, 2011.  I often wonder about the way I blog.  I voiced those thoughts in this post and I guess people liked reading about it.  So without further ado, here it is.

Something else I've been wondering.  Should I be changing this blog?  Is it okay that I'm just writing about random things that cross my mind?  Should it be more focused on my family life or is that a little self centered?  Should it be more about God?  I mean I have another one for Bible Study things and I do mention God when it seems appropriate on this one.  I could talk about Ben counting to 20, with help, or saying "XYZ now I know my ABC's."  (It comes out Now ah nee cee)  I could talk about giving Ben 3 time outs tonight and him protesting over the books I chose to read him.  But is that interesting and meaningful blog reading?

The other blog is a little more time consuming, but I like the challenge of looking up Scripture and interpreting it, making it mean something right here and now.  Sometimes, I am better than others about that, but that is my goal.  Something that will make the reader think and hopefully help them grow in their faith.  But that one isn't really personal.  Is that okay?  Should that one contain more personal anecdotes?  Is it too plain?  Shouldn't blogs be interesting and challenging both?

Basically, am I doing this the right way?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Good Stuff Saturday 12-17

The Rabbit Room - Of good boys and slaves: An Advent Meditation  Good boy?  Bad boy?  Han Solo?  Luke Skywalker? No to all of the above.  Read this and see who we really need.

World Vision - The real Christmas story | Blog 7 of the 12 blogs of Christmas  A wonderful and realistic look at the Christmas story.  I loved what it had to say.  I think you will too.

DRGT/ Just Wondering - Advent 3:  Good News  What does the Good News look like?  How should we react?  What should it smell like? Diana answers all this.  Here is a sampling of this amazing post.
 Do I smell like Jesus? 
 Does my life carry the scent of invitation,
of welcome and renewal,
of hope and praise and joy?

Not the false scent of polite,
"Oh, I'm just fine, really I am - just fine."
Not the musky cover-up of pollyannish 'cheer.'

Beta Christian - The usual suspects: One of the 22,000  The story of Gideon never seemed so alive as it does here.  It makes me realize how real the people of the Bible were or are.

El Chupacabra writes a blog - My symphony  Often we wish we could do something better to worship God, but then we miss the symphony he has given us.

Stuff Christians Like - Losing your Religion  How often do we underestimate the Holy Spirit?  How much more could he do?  A few thoughts on that in this post.

New Ways Theology - The day after a good post: Peace for moody writers   This was the peace I needed to hear about blogging, writing, popularity, etc.  So wonderful!

A Deeper Story - God with us I have never looked at this phrase quite like Sarah does.  I don't know that I will look at it the same way again.  You need to read this one!

World Vision - Occupy Advent | Blog 9 of the 12 blogs of Christmas A heartbreaking story shouldn't just end there.  It should mean more especially this season.  Read this and see what you think.

This is my blog - Cause I like calories in my whipcream  Kim is an amazing person who is so thoughtful!  She is truly showing the Christmas spirit.  Read about what she is doing.

Nicodemus @ Nite - Construction Box Syndrome  Are we stepping over the messy areas or dealing with them?  Read this AMAZING analogy.  See where you find yourself.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My 10 favorite Christmas traditions

I must confess that I have been a bit of a Scrooge this year.  I have been asked at least twice about my favorite Christmas tradition.  Both times I said my least favorite, the trip from NC to IL and back.  Out of everything about Christmas, I come up with what I don't like.  How Scrooge-y is that?  So today I will be doing a top 10 Christmas traditions.  If you really like lists of 10 things, you should check out Julie @ The Esau Project.  Every Friday she has a new one.  Anyway, on with my list.  I'm going from 10 to 1 because these are in order of my favorite.

10.  Christmas lunch at Grandma and Grandpa Farmer's house.  When I was little we would eat lunch with the extended family, my family and my Great-Uncle's family.  I didn't seem them often throughout the year, so it was special to see them all together.
9.  Secret Santa at work.  I love getting little gifts and giving little gifts.  So much fun!
8.  The essential Christmas decorations at my parents' house.  A mechanical Rudolph toy, porcelain bells in the shape of teddy bears, and the stockings.  It's good to see some things never change.
7.  Christmas music!  I like just about any kind of Christmas music and I like hearing it early!
6.  The angel at the top of the tree at my parents house.  I don't think it is there anymore because she was getting pretty old.  When we were kids, my brother and I would fight over who got put the angel on top.  Well actually we would fight over who Dad got lift up to put the angel on top.  Eventually my parents started writing it down on the box.  So we knew who did it last year.
5.  Grandma Glenda's fudge, her 7 "12 Days of Christmas" ornaments, and her full round Christmas tree that I used to think was real because it looked so nice.  I now know there is a smell associated with the real trees, but I didn't then.
4.  Grandma Ann's Rainbow Brite wrapping paper, her sparse fake tree, and wrapping paper fights with the family when we were done.
3.  Christmas movies with Drew, specifically Elf, Home Alone and Christmas with the Cranks.  We haven't had a chance to watch any so far this year.  That will change this weekend!
2. Reading the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas morning.  I have wanted to do that for a long while, so it was one of the first traditions I started with my little family.  We'll see how Ben does with it this year.
And finally, my FAVORITE Christmas tradition.....

1. Taking turns opening presents on Christmas morning.  Ever since I can remember we have opened one present at a time on Christmas morning.  I love it!!  Each person gets their time on stage with their present so to speak and those giving the present get the chance to see how it is received.  My husband thinks it is pretty weird, but I love it, so this is the tradition that I have continued.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?  

Now that we have one top 10 out of the way, let me tell you about the next top 10.  For the next two weeks you will be getting a top 10 of the most popular posts of the year as chosen by YOU the reader.  The posts will come from this blog and You, Me, and Jesus.  They will be posted on the regular days that I post.  I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and that you enjoy this year end review.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Word 2011: Hope

With the year coming to a close, I have been reflecting on my One Word for 2011.  In June, I wrote a mid year check in.  Then I realized that I hadn't said all that I needed to, so I wrote about it again.  I was excited.  I had been living out this word and focused on how to do that.  I was learning about the word and what it needs to change in my life.  I could see the changes in me.  I'm not exactly sure what happened between June and today, but I don't feel that way now.  I don't see it changing me.  I don't see me focused on how to live out hope and how to give hope.

Don't get me wrong I do see changes in myself.  I am not the same person I was last school year.  I am more involved and invested in my school and how it runs.  I am more invested in the staff, how to unify them, and how to best benefit the students.  I work more at saying "Thank you" and appreciating the people who are here.  I am trying not to gossip about what I don't know.  So I feel like I am growing significantly at work,  but I don't feel like it has anything to do with hope.  I think it has everything to do with Jon Acuff's Quitter, work the best you can where you are until you can get to your dream job.  That's my summary anyway.  I don't have a dream job out there to chase, but I'm doing the best I can where I am at.  I do feel very different as far as work goes, but I'm not sure this has anything to do with hope.  I feel like I haven't noticed my word since school started again.  I've left it abandoned on the side of the road called work.  It should be obvious that hope is needed in our schools.  I should be carrying it with me every day, but I haven't.  I don't think I have.  I am trying to provide a more positive working environment and structured classroom.  I don't see how that is related to giving hope.

But looking back on a few posts sitting in my drafts folder for a while, I might be seeing a pattern.  They are filled with random thoughts that seem like they should be connected to each other, but they aren't related to hope.  I'm thinking they are actually two different posts.  I think my word for 2012 is mixing with my word from 2011, so the relationship isn't in the words themselves, but the person.  So I've sorted them and I think I have found some more thoughts related to hope.

In John 6:44, Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."  The Father draws them.  It doesn't depend on us to drag them to Jesus.  We don't do the work on their heart.  People should come to Christ so they can get Christ and God.  This isn't a numbers game.  It isn't about how many I can get.  I shouldn't water down the message to get more people.  I need to get the ones that God draws to himself.  As my husband says, God does the heavy lifting.  Their heart isn't our accomplishment nor is it our failure.  

So what is  my job in this whole giving hope thing?  To glorify God!  Something else I heard recently from the pulpit, the glory of God drove Jesus to the cross.  It wasn't sinners. It wasn't you and me because that is a self centered focus and it is never about us.  It is always about God.  So my job isn't about me or about other people.  My job is to glorify God.  In that process, I should find hope and give hope.  I owe them the Gospel, the true Gospel.  Not the watered down, self-centered one.  Not the "God gives you this and this and this", so have hope.  I need to be giving the hope of the Gospel which is an ongoing life long hope.  I don't need to be focusing on being saved.  Even that word is in the past tense.  We are speaking of a past event.  It isn't a past event.  It is an ongoing event.  It hasn't ended for anyone because we aren't living with God in Heaven yet.  We often use that word about a past event without actually explaining it.  We act as if we have copyright on them and no one else can use them.  But the idea of one past event changing everything for all time isn't what God has in mind.  The explaining of salvation/following Christ/being born again is an integral part of this walk.  It is an integral part of the Gospel.  The Gospel involves discipleship with other believers.

So this brings me back to giving hope.  Giving hope involves more than one presentation of the Gospel and one prayer.  Giving hope is something I need to do for those following Christ and those not following Christ. The work I am doing here at school to improve the staff and the students is giving hope because I am trying to create a better place through the power and gifts God has given me.  Listening to the issues that people have and working through them is giving hope.  They see change and improvement through the process.  They see me participating in that change and I then glorify God by doing the job he has given me to do with the abilities he has given me.  And it isn't just here at work, I do it at church when I am showing and teaching the youth about how to walk with God.  I do this at home when I encourage my husband and when I'm loving on my kid.  So I'm giving hope to others by living out the role God has given me.  I am giving hope by glorifying Him.

I haven't consciously thought of it this way, but I have chosen to work where he has put me and to enjoy it.  I just need to see how my doing that can give hope.  I need to make sure I am giving Him glory and honor for what I am doing.  I won't be abandoning this word in 2012.  I will be focusing on a different word, but I won't be leaving hope on the side of the road.  It will be in my backpack if I need to pick it out and carry it again.  So I think I can say my first One Word has been a growing experience that was mostly successful.  I am looking forward to what 2012 has in store for me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A letter of apology to Albert Pujols

Dear Mr. Pujols,

After watching the KSDK video I have to say that my post from last Friday was totally wrong. It was very self centered. The thought of more ministry opportunities never occurred to me. Of course a Christian wants to make a large impact for God and LA would be a big mission field. So it was never about baseball because it was about God. And isn't that what it should be about? It isn't about me or baseball or St. Louis. It is about God and the mission field he gives you. I am disappointed in myself that I so quickly forgot that. Not only did I underestimated a Cardinal, but more importantly I underestimated a brother in Christ. I judged your walk and your faith by the faulty and biased reporting to which all media falls subject. I discounted the faith of a brother in Christ simply for the game of baseball. That should never happen. I humbly and sincerely apologize for my horrid attitude, awful assumptions and nasty words.

Sincerely, Andrea Ward

Señor Pujols,

Despues de que yo vea la entrevista con KSDK, yo tengo que decor mis palabras del viernes pasado faltan la verdad. Estas palabras estan enfocado en mi. Nunca pense en unas oportunidades para el ministerio de Dios. Por supuesto un cristiano quiere cambiar el mundo para la gloria de Dios y Los Angeles es un gran campo de ministerio. Sera ask siempre no? Entonces ni yo, ni la ciudad de St. Louis, ni el beisbol, no toma ninguna parte de esta decision porque la decision siempre fur de Dios y el ministerio que le dan a Uds. Me da pena que me olvido esto tan rapido. Yo subestime a un Cardinal, pero aun mas importante yo subestime un hermano de Cristo. Yo juzgue a us relacion con Dios y su fe con la informacion parcial que la cobertura periodistica me dio. Yo descarte el fe de un hermano en Cristo simplemente para el partido de beisbol. Este nunca debe pasara. Con sinceridad y humiliadad, quiero pedirle una disculpa para mi actitud horrible, mis suposiciones malas, y mis palabras feas.

Sinceramente,Andrea Ward

Editors note: I don't know how to add accent marks with an iPad, so there are multiple errors in the Spanish translation.

Note to the audience: If anyone knows anyone who could pass these thoughts along to the intended recipient, I would be grateful.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday is my Muse 12-12

My 8th grade students are working on various projects.  Some of them picked an artist profile as one of their projects.  They have to find various information about a Spanish/Hispanic visual artist.  After finding the information, they need pick 2 pieces of art and tell me what they think it means.  This is not easy for an 8th grader, but I'm really enjoying the opportunity to stretch their brain.  One of my students picked Joan Miró.  I could not even hope to come up with the genius things he comes up with, so I'm not going to try.  I'll display some of them on here and sigh about how great they are.  Enjoy!

Joan Miró. Harlequin's Carnival.

Joan Miró. Harlequin's Carnival. 1924-25. Oil on canvas. 66 x 93 cm. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA. 

Joan Miró. The Birth of the World.

Joan Miró. The Birth of the World. Oil on canvas. 1925. 251 x 200 cm. The Museum of Modern Arts, New York, NY, USA.

Joan Miró. Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird.

Joan Miró. Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird. 1926. Oil on canvas. 73.7 x 92 cm. The Museum of Modern Arts, New York, NY, USA.

Joan Miró. Dutch Interior I.

Joan Miró. Dutch Interior I. 1928. Oil on canvas. 91.8 x 73 cm. The Museum of Modern Arts, New York, NY, USA

Joan Miró. Blue II.

Joan Miró. Blue II. 1961. Oil on canvas. 270 x 355 cm. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. 

Joan Miró. The Gold of the Azure.

Joan Miró. The Gold of the Azure. 1967. oil on canvas. 205 x 173.5 cm. Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain.

What do you think they mean?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Good Stuff Saturday 12-10

Laura Parker: Life Overseas - The Guy in the Rice Field Never Read Wild at Heart {&Maybe He's Happier}  - Sometimes God is calling us to work right where we are.  This one really made me think.  I loved it!

DRGT: Just Wondering - Advent: Remembering the ways of God  - Diana always has beautiful words and the words for the beginning of Advent are no different.  This is just lovely.

Stuff Chirstians Like - Booty, God, Booty the Video: Part 1 - The Prayer Shot Block - The video might be for teens, but I loved it.  Funny and insightful, like always.  Check it out!

Red Letter Believers - How to bear good fruit from an imperfect family tree  - Amazing post!  It left me speechless.

True Beggars - Being Salt - Todd always has the most amazing illustrations to explain his poing.  This one is no different.  You have to go read this!

The View from Here - A Perfect Storm - Tough times, but you could help!  Read this and see what you can do.

Beta Christian - We all go back in the box - Wow!  Good thoughts here and to me they are related to the first one.  Read on and see what you think.

The Handwritten - I'm tired  I could not agree more with this!  I am so here right now.  Read this and get a glimpse into my thoughts as well.

Nicodemus @ Nite - Worshiping a Peacoat - Superb post!  Relating to the previous one, are we following God or just the stuff He does.  Read this and it will make a lot more sense.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lessons from baseball

I tried to avoid writing about this, but I couldn't think of anything else to write.  I couldn't think of anything else to write because I can't think of anything else.  There was a tragic shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech and Mythbusters shot a cannonball through someone's house.  These are big news items, but all I can think about is baseball.  I know, I know!  This is ridiculous, but such a person am I.  So let me get this out and then we can go back to the important stuff.

Yesterday after much speculation and debate Albert Pujols signed up with the Angels for $250 million for 10 years.  You may not know, but I'm a Cardinals fan.  I was a little disappointed.  I may be biased, but I think St. Louis is the best baseball city in the world.  Since I'm biased I'll say that it is one of the best in the world,  most definitely top 5.  And the Cardinals are one of the most historic franchises in the world.  Once again top 5.  The people know their baseball and appreciate hard work over production.  These are things you don't get very often in a city.  I doubt Angels fans have these claims.  So with all of the goodness in St. Louis and the possibility to be a legend forever, how do you walk away?  (Yes I mean forever, Stan Musial and Lou Brock still come around and people still mob them like superstars.) $40 million is a lot of money, but not when you are over the $200 mark.  I see the AL had the DH argument.  I get that, but why not in St. Louis for 6 or 8 and then 2 or 4 years of the AL.  Or how about not playing until 42 and retire a Cardinal.  Be a legend and a superstar forever?

I'm not worried about our season.  I trust the front office to get quality players that we need.  I think we will contend.  It isn't the team I'm thinking about.  I'm disappointed that yet another athlete has gone after money before love of the game.  Another athlete picked temporary pleasures over the lasting name of a legend.  I'm disappointed as a Cardinals fan, as a sports fan, and as a person.  A part of me is saying, "Then you are lifting one person up too high on a pedestal.  You are expecting too much out of a mere human.  Aren't there times that you do the exact same thing?"  My answer to that is Yes.  There are times I do the same thing and I shouldn't be so disappointed.  I'm working on it, but sometimes you just expect more out of people.  I guess the lesson to take from this is for me to be who I expect other to be.

What do you think about all this?  Opinions on Pujols' decision?  Opinions on my reaction to it?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Too good for that?

Tonight I realized that I am a bit of a food snob.  I realize this might be a shocking confession given the amount of time I donate to food on my blogs.  When someone talks about food as much as I do, then it is only logical to think that said person would eat just about anything.  Although logical, it is not so.  I have been a food snob. How did I come to this realization?  I'm glad you asked.

Over the last week or so, we have made a concerted effort to spend less money on food.  We have still eaten plenty and eaten pretty well, but we haven't had meat every night and it hasn't been a big recipe type cooking.  Tonight we were running a little late, so we grabbed a Hamburger Helper.  While we were deciding which one to get, I realized that until a week or so ago, I had grown to think I was too good for that.  I'm not sure how it happened and I don't think it was even a conscious thought, but it was a thought none the less.  Somewhere between the first few years of our marriage and now, I had begun to think we were too good to eat certain kinds of food.  And that is really irresponsible and a whole host of other words that aren't coming to me now because it is late.  There are people starving in the world and I think I'm too good for some food in our grocery stores.

Then I got to thinking, are our churches that way?  Do our churches think we are too good for certain ministries and outreach opportunities?  I think we do.  We are too big or too small or too hip or too traditional or too something to go and do.  Humans need food to function properly and churches need serving to function properly.  If we aren't serving, then we aren't working properly.  What gave me the right to think I was too good to eat some food from that box?  By the same token what gave our churches the right to think they were too good to go serve those people over there?

Even as I say that you are picturing someone in your head.  That is the type of person you don't want to serve.  How do I know this?  Because there was someone in my head.  Yes there are people that make me uncomfortable and I would rather not serve them.  However if/when God calls me there, I must go.  If I don't, then I won't work properly.  If you don't go when He calls you, then you won't work properly.  The same goes for our churches.

The question now is:  How do we get our churches to go there and serve those people?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The two greatest evils in the world!

You are now asking yourself how can you possibly narrow it down to two?  I mean after all there are 7 deadly sins.  Well lucky for you I have the inside track.  I know what the two greatest evils in the whole world are.  Coffee and showers.  Yes i said coffee and showers!  What?  You are caught by surprise?  I thought those had to be the top of everyone's list.  Okay, okay.  You are a little confused, so I will explain it for you.

Coffee is evil because it has caffeine and sugar tastes amazing in it.  Oh and it's hot and easy to make.  All of those contribute to an easy unhealthy drink whose sirens song is impossible to avoid.  I have been trying to give it up and I can't.  Then I feel guilty about not wanting some.  Every couple days I talk myself into a cup.  Then I go without for a few days and feel successful.  That successful feeling is normally accompanied by a headache that I assume is because I'm addicted to the caffeine.  So coffee is evil with her silky brown sugary headache inducing goodness.  I genuinely am debating about if I am too hard on myself about this or not.  I would love any thoughts here.

Showers are the second greatest evil in the world.  How is a steamy relaxing wonderland evil?  Because it takes time and when you work too many hours already, showers just don't fit in.  Showering before work means a bad hair day and getting up too early.  Showering too late is like wasting the relaxing water.  Showering in the evening is ideal, but then we come back to family time.  Showering forces one to choose between family and cleanliness.  And that is just evil!  However, showers and I have been working on a compromise.  I can see some hope for redemption in the future.

Thoughts?  Agree?  Disagree?  Let's talk about this.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday is my Muse 12-5

With Christmas around the corner it only seems natural to have a poem about Christmas.  This is an old one, but one of the best!

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc'd in their heads,
—Clement Clark Moore

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good Stuff Saturday 12-3

So not much last week to a compendium of links this week.  I thought about putting some off until next week, but then who knows what that one will look like.  I hope you enjoy all of these as much as I did reading them!

A Deeper Story - Out of my heart, under my breath  Such an honest wonderful post.  Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.  So isn't it really a heart issue after all.

Today's Bible Blog- Job 8:12-22 The necessity of Practical Ministry "Earn the right to preach"  I like that phrase.  When we minister to people, we don't always earn the right.  We just do it.  We shouldn't.  Read this and see if you agree.

Grit and Glory - Red Letter Day  It's never just another day.  See the beautiful way Alece puts it.  You won't be sorry.

Stuff Christians Like - Dear atheists, Chick-Fil-a, and waiters   Oh Jon Acuff is so funny! This is no different.  Read and laugh about our Sunday lunch behavior.

A Deeper Story - Accepting his silence  I never thought of this.  I'm so intrigued by it.  I have been thinking about it all week.

Beta Christian - The Christian bloggers influence I just discovered this blog this week.  I'm really liking it.  I bet you will too, especially this post.  Oh and this one too, The empty canvas

The view from here - What the hell am I doing here?  We have all wondered this.  And I love Jeff's answer. You will too.  Read it!

El Chupacabra writes a blog - Fill Up  Latin America is always interesting.  This is story is too, but how he got from the story to the moral, I don't know.  See if you can figure it out.

Faith, Family and the Farm - Not my thing  Breast feeding is not always sunshine, roses, and fluffy bunnies.  Sometimes it's hard.  Read about Sarah's experience.

Red Letter Believers - The temple of America: Thoughts on Consumerism  Oh this is so true!  It really touched me, especially since we are doing some serious budgeting and culture change in our house.

The Handwritten - Fake tastes bad This was just funny and so true.  Read it.  See what I mean.

Jaime, the very worst missionary - Bro, gaurd your heart   Boys are just as precious as girls, even teenage ones.  Read Jaime's take on it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I suck at this!

I had a pretty massive realization this week.  I suck at self-discipline.  I have known for a while that if I don't do it right away it may not get done for weeks.  I regularly put off washing clothes until I have 3 loads.  I put off washing the dishes until I have to creatively pack them in the dishwasher.  I wait until the kitchen counter has at least 7 spots before I wash it.  (I don't actually count the spots, but you get the idea.)  We have piles of paperwork laying around.  I don't vacuum until I just can't stand the dog hair.  I'm not saying we are rolling in filth, but it isn't spotless.

I think I'm hungry and go scavenge for food.  Instead of taking stock and realizing the I'm actually thirsty.  I know I need to email someone and I don't do it for a week or more.  I know I need to call a parent and I don't do it for several days.  I had translation to do this week and I wanted to put off the last couple pages.  I'm reading 5 pages of the Bible a day and some days it's actually 15 pages a day.  We are a few dollars ahead this month, so I think I'll buy this shirt or that book or whatever.  It's almost 10 and I'm just now writing this post.

Do you see what I mean?  I have no self-discipline.  I have been making small strides this week.  I have drunk significantly more water than normal.  And I have actually thought about saving money.  Tiny strides, but heading the right direction.  I have really got to work on this.  I suppose admitting I have a problem is the first step.  Julie has really inspired me several times to keep working.  Thanks!

Ask me about this again in a couple weeks.  Keep me honest here.  I can't keep going on this way.

What about you?  Are you disciplined?

(Maybe I should have called this the post where I ramble and make my mother mad.  Too little too late I suppose.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

God is Good!

This isn't the post I intended to write today, but here I am.  (If you're lucky, you'll get three posts this week.  Cross your fingers).  It's also a little late, so I might ramble a little.  Sorry.

At the beginning of every year we have to sign up for gate duties, jobs that need to be done for the athletics.  I have taken money for most of the sports we have at the middle school, but I have avoided all other jobs like the plague.  I never wanted to call lines at the volleyball game or move the chains at the football game or run the clock at the basketball game.  Well the other jobs were spoken for and so it was either the clock or the chains. Not wanting to stand and move up and down outside, I went for basketball.  Tonight was the night and I was TERRIFIED!!  I'm rather sports saavy, so I didn't expect too many problems.  I know the general rules of basketball, so I should be good.  Then I actually got there.  The clock was super easy to actually operate, but that didn't really help.  There was still the human element of it.  The score, the clock, and the quarters were all easy, but then it came to the horn.  I was totally lost on this one.  I didn't know what to do with it.  The girls coach told me after timeouts and before the quarters.  The referees told me their signals for stopping the clock and starting it.  I was feeling pretty okay.  I even announced the starting lineups.  I was prepared, until the game started.

I only messed the score up 4 times, but I knew as soon as I did it.  That's good right?  I think I only messed the time up 3 times.  Most of this was in the boys game, which was second.  I got to test the waters so to speak with the girls game.  The time was pretty okay.  No one had to tell me when to turn it on or off.  I did mess the score up once or twice, but I fixed it pretty quickly.  It was tempting to watch the girls game, but I stayed strong.  I didn't watch it and I did my job.  The referees gave me notes as the girls game went along.  So I was slowly being eased into the process.  Then came the boys game and everything changed.  I started watching it and I messed the clock up by like 5 seconds twice in the first quarter, or maybe half.  Anyway it was bad, the ref even politely came to tell me it was bad.  I had to literally tell myself to not watch the game and pay attention to the refs.  In the end, people thanked me and I didn't mess up the whole game.  So I guess it wasn't too bad. I have to do it 2 more times, so I guess I'll be getting better at it.

What does this all have to do with God?  I am stunned by the little things he did to help me out.  For instance, several of the first free throws were miss and then made.  That helped me because I didn't have to worry about when to start the clock on a rebound.  The coaches of the other team were super nice and never said a word about my mess ups. (Of course, our coaches didn't either.)  The games were not that close, so when I did mess up it didn't make a difference.  The girls generally score less, so I got the chance to get better with the clock before I worried about doing the score and clock together.  It may not seem like a big deal to you all, but it meant so much to me.  In that moment when I was worried over something rather minor, the creator of the universe took time to make me feel better.  He set things up in the games in such a way that I could get comfortable with this new experience.  Wow, God loves me that much!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don't order the water!

I talk about food a lot on my blogs.  It's kind of a favorite thing of mine.  You would think with the previous 9 posts about food I would be running out of stories, but I have not run out yet.  Today I'm pulling out a couple old stories for your reading pleasure.  One from when I was a kid and one from last year.

The pizza place

For several years when I was a kid, we lived in a suburb of St. Louis.  Several times my grandparents came to visit us.  One of those times my maternal grandmother came to visit.  Of course we would go out to eat and if you were going out to eat, the thing to eat was pizza.  Maybe your family was different, but in my family eating out mostly meant going to a pizza parlor.  This particular pizza place is rather fuzzy in my memory, probably because this is the last time we went there.  I know it was at night and that it was painted dark inside the place. I know we sat at a table and not a booth.  I'm pretty sure I was sitting beside my dad.  There were 5 of us at the table.  The waitress arrived and took our orders.  She returned with the drinks and I'm pretty sure she messed something up.  I think it was sweet tea instead of unsweet tea.  Minor error.  It could happen to anyone.  No need to worry.  She took our order, which included a salad for at least my grandmother.  We waited a pretty average amount of time for the pizza.  When it arrived, it was completely wrong, wrong toppings and everything.  My dad pointed out that we didn't order this.  The waitress insisted that we did and that Grandma Ann ordered it that way.  My dad argued with her because the only thing grandma said was blue cheese and water.

This particular incident stuck with me because I couldn't believe the waitress would be so wrong about who ordered and what we ordered.  Then on top of that she argued with the customer about the whole thing!  I have never had another waitress be so wrong with everything.  I don't even remember what the pizza tasted like or the name of the place.  I just remember the waitress saying grandma had ordered it.

Spilled Water

Speaking of odd waitresses, once a group of my husband's friends, my husband, and I went out to eat.  We went to a local restaurant here in town.  I ordered water.  The waitress served the drinks and spilled the water.  It headed straight toward my husband's lap, who was in the back corner of the booth.  I don't think it actually landed on him though.  The waitress had to figure out how to clean up the water.  She decided to use a rag to sweep the water and ice onto the floor and then use a mop to mop it up.  I have never seen another waitress or waiter deal with spilled water that way.  The most memorable thing about that visit wasn't the waitress though.  We were there after the funeral of a dear friend who was gone too soon.  We figured the spilled water was one last practical joke.  I don't think there ever was a glass of spilled water that was quite so special.

Babies and Newbies

One last story and this one also involves unique wait staff and spilled water.  Around the time that Ben turned 1, we went out to eat with another couple.  We went to a local family bar and grill type place.  The waiter was obviously new and rather nervous.  We ordered our drinks and I ordered water.  He served the water and got it too close to Ben.  Of course being curious, he grabbed the top of the glass and turned it over before we could blink.  He was soaking wet and the waiter was apologizing profusely.  Thankfully we had an extra outfit, but it was his pajamas.  I can't wait to talk about the time we stripped him down to change in the middle of a restaurant.  I think the waiter flubbed the food, but not too bad.  When it came time for the checks, he asked how we would pay.  We said 2 checks.  Then he asked how to split it.  We were a bit baffled.  The guy and gal that were attending to the baby would be one check and the guy and gal sitting away from said baby would be another check.  That seemed rather obvious to us, but like I said he was new and nervous.  So we explained payment arrangements and handed over our cards in the fancy pay envelopes.  He rang it up and handed back the cards to the wrong people.  My husband's card with his picture was handed to the wife of the other couple and vice versa.  Once again new and nervous, but we were amused.

Moral of the story:  Don't eat out with us, especially if someone is ordering water!

In case you missed some of the previous food related blogs:
No more drive thru
Dinner Adventures
The day we bollixed it
Bad Service=God's Plan
A love story
A love story: The conclusion
Catering Meals
30 fun food facts about Citrus Sunshine
Baking up a blessing
The Thanksgiving that I became an adult

(Yes I should start a label for these.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday is my Muse 11-28

Today I have something a little different.  The idea of this came to me last night.  This isn't exactly what was in my head, but it is the best I could do.  Of course, I had to play with the pictures a little bit.

Heart Patches

Andy Warhol treatment

This is more like what was in my head!

Creative Commons License
Heart Patches by Andrea Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

What do you think it means?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Good Stuff Saturday 11-26

Red Letter Believers  How to see gain through the pain  Life is difficult, but it isn't all bad.  Read on and see if you agree.

Faith, Family and the Farm Oodles of Noodles  This is a great story.  I loved it, so I thought I would share.

The Handwritten  Truth's best friend  There is so much in these few words.  These are words to live by I think.  Read it and see what you think.

EC writes  Alaskan funk- Short term mission gone...meh...  What is a mission trip?  Should it look like this? Not sure.  Read it and see what you think.

The Jacksons' Journey  A different kind of Thanksgiving: Part 1  The Sound of Hope has been travelling this Thanksgiving and we have a lot for which we should give thanks.  See what Erika is thankful for.

Short list this week.  Several bloggers taking time off for the holidays.  Next week will be back to normal.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Thanksgiving that I became an adult

Turkey  Photo Credit: Rene S.
(I didn't make that!)

This is the first Thanksgiving that I did lots of cooking. I can't say that I ever remember cooking. Maybe a dessert because I wanted to, but not the main part of the meal. Today that all changed and I'm excited about it. I got up early and started lunch. And by early I mean 7. Yeah I know that isn't early to the turkey makers out there, but to me on Thanksgiving it is early. I started by walking to my mother in laws house or get butter and eggs for the cake. I got them returned and started the cake. After adding the dry ingredients, I realized that I added baking soda instead of baking powder. I quickly googled the results of such an occurrence and I was assured it would cause no permanent damage to the cake. So I continued baking. When the cake went in the oven, I returned the butter to my mother in laws.

That was 2 trips down the road in my Snoopy pajama pants and Flats for work. It was a strange outfit, but isn't that what Thasgivning morning is made for? Back to the house and the cake. The cake took a little longer than expected and came out looking a little small, but no worries it would taste great. After the cake was cooled, I iced it with the chocolate glaze frosting that I made up last week. We had a storage container of milk chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. I melted those and added some milk and powdered sugar. Not necessarily for an icing, but just to see what it would taste like. It was good!

Anyway on to the big portion of the meal. We decided since this was our first year cooking a turkey would be too much, so we went with a turkey loaf. A delicious alternative that comes with its own gravy. It takes 2 hours or so in the oven and nothing more. Yay for simple! That went in the oven while the cake was cooling. After a short rest, I looked at the next item on my list, stuffing. It was from a box, once again we were going with the stuff you can't mess up. I realized I needed butter, so I sent Drew back for butter. He got it and I made the stuffing without a hitch. Then on to the instant mashed potatoes. (I know you are thinking that I cheated on everything. You are probably right. :P). Lots of milk and butter later, they were pretty darn good.

We prepared everything for transport down to Nana's house, met a guest in our driveway, and headed down for our lunch. We got there and there was a ton of food. It was all so good. Sitting around the kitchen table it was rather Norman Rockwell. Except for the fact that my son only wanted candy and corn and the cake tasting like baking soda. Thankfully Nana made a pumpkin spice cake that was delicious and the homemade icing by Uncle A was awesome as well. It was Norman Rockwell except for those two minor issues. 

Epilogue: Of course we went to eat with his dad's side of the family and that was delicious and fun. We came back for dinners and a movie at Nana's. Ben acted nuts because he didn't have a nap. I had more stuffing and potatoes for both lunch and dinner today. And a huge chunk of the pumpkin spice cake.

Moral: I cooked half of a Thanksgiving meal even though I'm not really a cook. It was good. I ruined a cake even though I am a baker. All titles go out the window for Thanksgiving!