Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The healthier road

Ben has had diarrhea on and off for a couple weeks now.  (This is just background information.  He had/has a virus.  He is staying well hydrated and generally seems healthy.  No major concerns.)   When he was done with his dinner (which was toast with a little butter, applesauce, and a handful of "ohs"), he asked to get out and said he needed a new diaper.  Knowing what that has meant the last couple weeks, I took him to the bath.  I got the diaper off and it was messy.  He started freaking out because he doesn't like the shower and he knew that was my plan.  It was quick and easy of course it is the best idea.  God stepped in with another one though.  He inspired me with the thought of using the cup that Ben loves to splash him with until he was clean.  Although this was not easier and it certainly wasn't quicker, it was the best idea.  Ben giggled and smiled instead of screaming and crying.  I think I even said, "This is the long way to go about it."

Then I thought, "Hmm... maybe there is a lesson in this."  Sometimes we don't see the whole picture.  It seems like we have been on the same road forever.  We know it has been a trying trek toward our goal.  We are beginning to wonder what our goal even was.  We know there has to be a shorter way to go, but it doesn't seem to be anywhere next to us.  However, God knows what he is doing.  That longer harder road might just be the right answer to keep us from screaming and crying.

So whatever road you might be on for however long you have been on it, smile and laugh along the way!  This is a reminder that God does know what he is doing.  Even though you don't know it, this is the better way.  It might take longer than you thought.  It might require more of you than you expected, but it is healthier for your whole being in the end.  After all laughing is better than crying.

Finding my story: My Grandparents

Family GroupPhoto Credit: anyjazz65

A couple months ago I posted what was to be the first of a few family stories.  I didn't really forget about it.  I just couldn't decide when was a good time for part 2.  This week seems like a good time, so the natural next step seemed to be my grandparents.  A little background information might be in order before I begin.  Unfortunately, I never met my maternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother passed away when I was 10.  Even though they weren't physically in my life, those boxes of old family stuff was inherited from them.  So I felt as if they were with me weaving the story of me alongside me.  My paternal grandparents still live in the same house that I have known my whole life.  We have idyllic family celebrations at their house for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and birthdays.  Their home has always been open and welcoming.  It has weathered a few storms as families will have and come out stronger for it in my opinion.  Perfect? Of course not, but they are pretty awesome grandparents.  I suppose I could go on quite a bit about the stories, but I'm going to try to make them quick.

My maternal grandparents had quite a love story.  He asked her twice to go out with him.  I believe she was with her friends both times.  She thought he was joking.  So the third time he asked in front of her mom!  (Side note: My great-grandmother was intimidating.  Loving, but intimidating.)  The third time was the charm and she believed him.  They began to date and then she moved 45 minutes away.  This did not deter them.  They wrote letters and visited every so often.  Then World War II started.  He signed up so he could pick what branch he entered.  He served in the Army Air Corps, forerunner to the Air Force, and went to war.  My grandmother was amazing and saved most of these letters that he wrote before and during the war.  He wrote her often from Florida, Texas, North Dakota, and India.  Some of these letters are very poignant.  He admitted his faults to her more than once.  He told her she didn't have to wait for him.  She waited and evidently found him worthy enough.  He returned and was discharged in November of 1945.  I believe they got married on New Years Eve 1945.  I'm sure life wasn't easy and there were bumps in the road, but they made it together for 30 years.  Grandma lived for 15 years after he passed away and never in my life did I see her with anyone else.  I truly believe he was the love of her life and vice versa.  I hope to have the strength to live out my love that way.

My paternal grandparents are always laughing.  Grandpa tells the story that they went to a minister's house one night to get married.  They knocked on his door and he married them in his living room with the minister's wife as the witness.  To me, this is a totally foreign idea.  In the minister's living room one night!  Wow, crazy.  The minister told Grandpa to pay him what Grandpa thought Grandma was worth, so he gave the minister $20.  True or not I don't know, but Grandpa still jokes about that!  The story I remember grandma telling me was about their wedding present from her parents. Her parents gave them a cow for a wedding present.  Evidently, it was a good present because they sold it and got some other stuff for it and so on and so forth.  Grandma told me the whole story, but I have forgotten those details.  They had 4 kids and moved around a few times, but the house they are in now is the house that Grandpa built and the kids mostly grew up in.  They are still very much in love, but it doesn't look like the movie version of love.  It is a real love that has stood the test of time and kids and grandkids and great grandkids.  They joke a lot and tell stories.  They feed the family and give whatever they can whenever it is needed.  They go to Wendy's and have coffee with their friends.  I hope my marriage looks like that in 50 years.

What stories do you have to share?  What is special about your grandparents?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finish the sentence

I have written about Heaven a few times.  There are 2 links in that post to 2 other discussions.  This one will be a little more light-hearted.  It is also a short thought and a question.

I think Heaven will be like the perfect fall day that goes on forever and of course will have great food.  (You guys know how I love my food)

What do you think?  Finish the sentence.  I think Heaven will be like....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Monday is my Muse 9-26

With October arriving at the end of the week, I thought I would write a poem about my favorite season.  so here are a few of my favorite things about fall.

The ABC's of Fall

Apple Cider
Cooler weather
Delicious roasted marshmallows
Evening Hayrides
Games of Football
Incredibly yummy smores
Kids in costumes
Leaf piles
Macy's parade
Orange leaves
Pumpkin Pie
Quiet mornings
Red leaves
Smell of burning leaves
Uniquely carved pumpkins
Vegetable decorations
Windy afternoons
eXciting playoff baseball
Yellow leaves
Zesty cinnamon

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The ABC's of Fall by Andrea Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Did I miss something?  What do you like about Fall?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Good Stuff Saturday 9-24

Compassion  A hand up is better than a hand out  The best way to help people isn't always the easiest.  This story is a great example of how we can be the most useful to those in poverty.

New Ways Forward  When the church becomes a business Part 2  A few thoughts why people switch churches so often.  A disturbing thought.

Bryan Allain The Power of Perspective  Two photos from two different perspectives speak volumes.  Check it out!

The Rabbit Room  Avoiding Cocvienence:  A word to the hymn writers  These have been some of my thoughts recently.  There are some great things about those old hymns that seem to go unappreciated by some.

The View from Here  The return (El Regreso) A good movie story that reminds us about Jesus.

Big B  What's the Difference between regular coffee and decaf?  Absolutely hilarious!  I laughed out loud when I saw this one!

New Ways Forward  We have no Pro-Life Party  What exactly to we mean when we say Pro-Life?  Mason shared a few thoughts over here.

A Deeper Story  A Pile of Stones  Just who are we wanting to throw stones at?  A beautifully written honest story that really made me think.

DRGT: Just Wondering  When God asks you questions: Who do you say I am?  Others say some things, but Peter had the answer.  But what did he mean by that answer and what do we mean with our answer.  Read this and think about it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2 Samuel 11: Uriah the Hittite

In the story of David and Bathsheba, there is a person that is often left out of the story.  Uriah!  Some might even have to wonder who he was.  We often refer to him as Bathsheba's husband, but he does have a name, Uriah.  Something I noticed today while I was reading was the last part of his name, the Hittite.  The Hittites were a people group that the Israelite people had fought.  They were enemies of Israel, but here is a Hittite man  that is called back from battle.  That means that a foreigner was fighting for the armies of Israel.  He had turned away from his nation and his false gods.  He had turned to the one true God and was fighting for him.  He was called back from the battle and David invited him to go home.  He didn't go home.  He slept outside with some servants.  David asked him why and in verse 11 we get his response.  "Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”  

Did you catch that?  He didn't go home and act normal because first of all the ark of the covenant was away with the troops.  The physical representation of God on Earth among the Israelite people was away in battle, so he couldn't go about acting normally.  Secondly he mentions the men with whom he is fighting.  He is considering God and the people fighting for God.   That doesn't sound like a random foreign guy who showed up in Israel.  He continues when he goes back to the front lines.  He continues to fight valiantly even to the point of giving his life in an effort that was doomed for failure.  Uriah the Hittite was a valiantly warrior for God!  Even though that has gone unnoticed by most of us, that effort was not unnoticed by God.  God noticed the foreigner who had abandoned his previous ways to surrender himself to God.  

Does that say anything to you?  Should it say something?  It did for me.  God cares about the foreigner.  He doesn't forget him, especially when that foreigner is giving of himself for God.  When we see a foreigner like that, we should treat him as we would a fellow Christian.  So then along those lines, who is a foreigner to us.  Not the normal definition we think of as in someone from a different country.  There are no country lines with Jesus.  It is either Jesus or not Jesus.  So there should be no foreigner to us!  We need to act like everyone is a part of our community.  Isn't that they way to be loving people like Jesus?

The Wizard of Oz

This past weekend was my birthday and my birthday present from my husband was tickets to the local production of The Wizard of Oz.  A former college student of mine was playing the Lion and according to his Facebook status it was an amazing show.  I also heard a few colleagues mention the fabulousness of this show as well.  Last weekend was the final weekend of the show and we didn't order tickets until Wednesday.  God had reserved two tickets for us sitting together on the night that I wanted.  I think it was the last 2 seats together.  From that alone, I knew it was going to be an amazing show.

Saturday morning rolled around and I was antsy all day.  Drew took me shopping for jeans as the other part of my birthday present.  A quick side note on that, Target was a major disappointment, but Old Navy was wonderful.  Even while I was shopping, I was really thinking about the show.  I thought about the clothes I was going to wear.  I thought about what time we should leave and what time we should drop Ben off with the sitter.  I thought about what the scenery might look like and what the costumes might look like.  Pictures had been posted online, but I didn't go see them because I didn't want to ruin the surprise.

Ben didn't nap which is always fun, so I didn't get time to take a shower during the day.  However my fabulous husband watched him and played with him, so I could get ready.  I took a shower, fixed my hair, put on make-up, and got dressed.  I don't remember what I wore, but I know I got to wear my really amazing brown checkered heels.  (Yes I realize it was just last Saturday and I should remember what I wore, but I don't.)  As every woman knows a good pair of heels makes you feel like you are on top of the world.  So we drove up to Newton and drove around the block once or twice looking for a parking spot.  We found one in an empty doctor's office lot across the street.  We walked up to the playhouse and I felt like a million dollars!  I had my cute shoes on with a cute outfit and a handsome husband going to a fabulous performance.  It really doesn't get better than that.

We entered the playhouse and I soaked in the experience of a theater crowd.  Thankfully, this was a local play and it was not pretentious at all!  There were many children who were attending the performance.  Everyone was genuinely excited to be there and anticipating the performance.  Drew and I took a program and sat down.  The theater is an old post office that has been refurbished and it looks amazing.  On the outside it looks like a post office, on the inside it is totally a playhouse.  We took our seats which were on the far left and toward the back.  Not the best seats in the house, but honestly there are no bad seats in this place.  We perused the program and listened to a few conversations around us.  I probably tried to talk to Drew, but he doesn't really like discussing stuff in public.  I think it is probably because I'm rather opinionated and loud, so not talking is better.  We waited what seemed like an eternity, but I think it was only 25 minutes, and the play finally began.

The play was amazing!  It was incredible!  It was enchanting!  There really aren't enough words to express the fabulousness of this performance.  The cast was amazing.  The directing was top notch.  The orchestra was incredible.  This play honestly rivaled the movie in quality.  Every essential line was in there.  Every essential song was there.  They had a crystal ball and the Wizard's screen just like in the movie.  So while I was singing along with the songs and quoting the lines with them (not out loud, just to myself.), I got to thinking about a book I am reading.  In Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, Madline L'Engle puts forth the hypothesis that good art is good religion and bad art is bad religion.  Since God created everything, then all creativity comes from him.  Those that use it well are doing so through the talent and inspiration that He gave them whether they acknowledge it or not.  I love this concept!  There are so many works of art that I admire, but not so much the artist.  As a Christian, I have often felt guilty for liking art that isn't specifically 'Christian' art.  Now I find out that I don't need to feel guilty because good art is really a reflection of the creativity that was given by God to a human.

How does this relate to The Wizard of Oz?  The movie and this play were wonderful and wildly successful.  The movie Return to Oz and the books not so successful.  I know they have their fans and that is totally fine to be a fan of those instead of the movie.  Or even to be a fan of both the movie and the books.  However, I think it is safe to say that the average person prefers the 1939 version and by extension this performance to any of the other versions out there.  I think this is a reflection of the attitude of the creators.  L. Frank Baum preferred to live his life morally, but without God.  I think it reflects in his books and the non-lasting quality of them. (Side note:  Many believe the books were more of a political allegory than children's novel anyway.  That makes a lot of sense to me.)  I have read the book once and I  found it confusing and dark.  It wasn't what I expected and I have to say that it was one occasion when I preferred the movie to the book.  Whomever created the movie must have been more open to God than L. Frank Baum.  The proof of this is the lasting quality and passionate love of the movie.  People still love this movie and it still speaks to children today.  This movie about friendship, finding home, and the triumph of good over evil has found a place in the hearts and minds of Americans.  So thank you to those who created the movie and thank you to those who created this production.  You have made this Oz fan very happy!

One more side note, the Scarecrow, Tinsman, and Cowardly Lion were totally amazing!!  Of course, I thought the Lion was amazing!  The Tinsman has always been a quiet, but powerful character in my estimation and this Tinsman was no exception.  The Scarecrow has always been a more physical and flamboyant role.  This Scarecrow was no exception.  These three men are now my new favorite actors in a totally non-stalkerish kind of way.  I can't wait to see what they do next!  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to everyone in this production for making my birthday weekend amazing!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Post: The Esau Project

I am the lucky recipient of a guest post over at The Esau Project which is written by my friend Julie.  She always has amazing insights about how to better use her time, talents, etc. for God.  Not to mention her amazing Top 10 Fridays and telling her story on Mondays.  As you can see, there is some good stuff going on over there, so go check her out and read my guest post.

Here is a preview:

It seems so natural to us the up and down of our relationship with the Bible.  Have you ever thought of how you even came to have a relationship with the Bible?   Not Jesus, but the Bible, the book that you hold in your hands and from which you read.  We discussed this in our Sunday school class recently.  I was stunned with the history of this book.  I have 4 or 5 of them in my house.  I know that there are some places that don’t have one and I do feel special for having so many.  I know that years ago Bibles weren’t so prevalent because it was so hard to print one.  Once again I feel lucky to able to get one or several so easily.  Other than feeling lucky, I don’t really think too much more about it.  That is until this series in our class.

Now go on over there and read the rest of the story about the men who brought the Bible to our hands.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday is my Muse 9-19

I'm pulling out an old one today.  I have a little book that I wrote poetry in, but I never dated anything.  So I don't know when this was written.  I think this was written around 2002 maybe.  I don't know of any particular circumstances surrounding this one, but I do think it was one about a real situation and not one about a fake situation.  (I'll post one of those sometime soon.)

What I want

Freedom obstructed
Love held at bay
Home unwelcome
Life a battle
I don't want to be 
Bound by fear and anger
I don't want to be
Pushed away
I don't want to be
A stranger
I don't want to always
Have strife.  
I want to soar on wings of eagles
I want to love you without worry
I want a shelter from the storm
I want to enjoy life
I want LOVE!
I want HOME!
I want LIFE!

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What I want by Andrea Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good Stuff Saturday 9-17

The view from here  Just an Ordinary Cup  It may just be a cup to some, but to Jeff it is so much more.  Read this beautiful tribute to his father.

The 21st Century Principal  Teaching is a Business of the Heart  A great reminder of why I do, what I do.

Stuff Christians Like  SLCQ: Christian Hipster How To  Hilarious video!  I literally laughed out loud.

Red Letter Believers  How Slinkys could have Changed the World  A haunting post about a man trying too hard to God's will.  It is so hard to summarize in a sentence, so please read to get what the story is really about.

Top of the page  Encouraging my kids  A book I will have to read and an idea I will have to copy.  All parents should read this one.

Stuff Christians Like  The trade we all forget to make Who's plans are the most important ones?  Are you really sure about that?  Read this just to check.

El Chupacabra writes a blog  Masculinity and the church  This is a subject very near and dear to my heart.  You should read it and share it with others.  Lots of others!

Compassion  How can teen leaders influence others  An amazing story about an amazing young man.  You are never too young to further the Kingdom.

DRGT: Just Wondering  Five Minute Friday: Joy  A wonderful post that is inspired by a reflection on one woman's life and ends with joy.

The Silver Lining as seen by Katie Hawkins  Nicole & Katie Video Update Part One  Amazing video made by a friend of mine.  There is sooooo much teaching material in here about learning a second language.  I have shown it to 3 of my Spanish classes this week.  You should go watch it and learn some Albanian.

The idol of patriotism

I have had this post in mind all week and not had the time and energy at the same time.  Sorry for two in one day.

Last Sunday was of course the 10th Anniversary of 9-11.  While listening to a recounting of the events, a thought occurred to me.  We are like the Isrealites, a lot like them actually.  God has repeatedly blessed this nation.  How has God blessed us?  Independence in the face of the biggest most well trained army in the world.  Japan only got to Pearl Harbor.  Flight 93 never made it to its destination.  Wonderful amazing land for growing things.  A colonizing culture that came to settle not just to plunder.  The Industrial Revolution providing jobs.  Some of the best medical care and doctors in the world.  A constitution that has stood for over 200 years.  A Civil War that didn't split us in half.  Don't we see it?

The Israelite people were blessed over and over and over.  The Red Sea, Jericho, numerous battles, etc., and they turned away just as many times.  They thought they could do it on their own.  Look at Saul as king.  Why?  To do it on their own.

We would know better right?  We have read all their stories and know how to do better.  We see their mistakes and wouldn't make them.  WRONG!  Look at all that God has blessed us with and yet we still think we can do it on our own.  We call it patriotism and the American way.  It was never meant be like this.  Our forefathers founded this nation on Christ.  Yes they were human and screwed up plenty, but they depended on God and not on their own abilities.

We even term helping out our fellow man as the Human Spirit.  Why?  Is it because we humans are so loving and giving?  NO!  Human nature yes that makes sense.  The natural desire to do bad instead of good. But Human spirit, not so much.  How can we have both in us?  Because God breathed into us.  It's God's Spirit in us, nothing we humans do.  We even claim the good we do is from us and not Him.  We can do it as individuals and as a country.  We are so like the Israelite people.

However the better question in all these thoughts is: how have I not seen it?  How have I not been praying for it?  Do I think God isn't big enough?  Yes I have thought that.  God forgive me and help me with my unbelief.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


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?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday is my muse 9-12

I had a hard time finding the text for this one, so I thought I would just put the video here.  This was the last public appearance by Jack Buck.  He was not only an amazing sportscaster, but a pretty good poet.  And mostly a good man.

For America by Jack Buck

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Good stuff Saturday 9-10

DRGT: Just Wondering  When God asks you the Questions: Who told you are naked?  Where does shame come from and where does it lead us?  She does a great job of answering those questions and it really makes you think.

A Deeper Story The Death of a Name  What name are we taking do decide our future?  She thinks back to her marriage and wonders if we take the name of Jesus on like we do our married names.  Good thoughts here.

Red Letter Believers  Stunts for God   I needed to hear this message this week.  It isn't about the big fancy impressive things we do for God.  It's about obedience every day.  He said it better than me.  Go read it!

The Rabbit Room  Passing On   Some great thoughts on what we leave behind us.  Not to mention a super awesome photo to really drive the point home!

World Vision  Operation Seasweep An INCREDIBLE story of rescue and all that God can do!

Nicodemus @ Nite  Eating Ramen Noodles for 121 days   A very honest story of what he had to overcome to see God.  You should read this!

Big B  Baggage  A quick but powerful video about what we carry with us and why we shouldn't.

The Rabbit Room   Little Faith  Sometimes having a little faith is "enough faith" because of what we are having faith in.  This story of learning that concept is a powerful one.

My heart belongs to Jesus.... Citizen of the World  Calling All Men  A heartbreaking story about the challenges this missionary faces in Cambodia and what is needed.  Part 2 further illustrates and clarifies the idea.  We should all be praying for this!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baking up a blessing

Last week I was asked to join one of the women’s cookinggroups at our church.  Several women aregetting older and no longer able to participate.  Of course, I said yes.  I figured a dish here or there wouldn’t be abig deal.  Tuesday night I was called onto make my first dish.  The group leaderasked me what I wanted to make.  Ofcourse, I said that I prefer to bake.  Whydid I say that?  Who knows!  I just say whatever comes into my head.  So I had desserts.  It didn’t matter what I made.  No big deal right?  Throw a few cookies in the oven and go.  Except….

This wasn’t a surgery or baby call.  This was a funeral call.  These are the really important ones.  I remember several times growing up thevarious church members that served us a meal after a funeral of one great-grandparentor another.  (I had 6 until I was 15.)  It was truly a blessing after a long andtiring day to sit down to a delicious meal and share memories.  I couldn’t just give them a few cookies.  I couldn’t just give them a box cake mix.  I had to give my best, which meanshomemade.  For baking, this is so not aproblem.  Because I grew up watching myMamaw bake, I know that homemade is really the best and only way to bebaker.  Not to put down anyone who doesn’tdo it that way.  I’m just saying Mamawingrained in me the need to bake to the best of my ability.  Feeling that way, I have been baking that waysince I was in Jr. High.  (And I am old enoughthat it was still called that.)  Sobaking a cake on a Tuesday isn’t a big deal, normally. 
However, this Tuesday it was a special cake.  It was a cake that will be ministering to agrieving family.  I am now officiallyentering adult womanhood and I’m terrified. I searched through every cookbook I have looking for the perfectcake.  Something that everyone likes andisn’t too experimental.  Something thatonly needs 3 eggs because that’s all I have. Something that doesn’t have too many ingredients because I don’t want todrag out a bunch of stuff.  So Ieventually decided on a yellow cake recipe from Betty Crocker.  Then I had to find an icing.  I looked at the suggestions the cookbook gaveand went with the chocolate.  I made alist for my husband because I was out of flour and chocolate and somethingelse.  I didn’t have anything to transportthe cake on, so I also asked him to look for that.  Of course he didn’t find anything and theunsweetened baking chocolate was difficult to find, but he came through like achamp with only 2 phone calls home.  Whilethat was going on, I was talking to my mom because the recipe I picked said tomix it with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds and high for 3minutes.  The problem with that is thatour electric mixer stopped working.  I’mpretty sure the motor was burnt up.  Sohow long do I mix it with my hand to replace an electric mixer?  For those of you that know my mom, the factthat I’m calling her is a bit funny.  Sheisn’t a chef or a baker.  She followedin Grandma Ann’s footsteps instead of Mamaw’s. The kitchen is not her strong suit.   

Anyway, we decided that I would just have to mix it until itlooked right.  Drew got home and Istarted to bake.  Mixing the ingredients,sifting the flour, and even the hand mixing wasn’t impossible.  The hard part was buttering and flouring thepans.  I’m just not very good atthat.  My mom is AWESOME, but she was 5states away.  I got it done, got it inthe pan, and in the oven.  After baking,then came the cooling.  That was the nextchallenge.  I had to get it out of thepan AND onto a makeshift cooling rack. Do I use foil or not because this isn’t really a cooling rack?  I got it out without breaking them and putthem on foil.  After a few minutes I tookthe foil off and some of the cake came with it. Crap!  Not too much and I wasicing it, so no biggie.  Of course theone layer that is totally lopsided is a problem.  It’s the presentation that throws me off.  The baked good tastes good, but doesn’talways look good.  Once again this was abig deal, so I have to fix it.

Before I could dothat, I had to make the icing.  Melt thechocolate, mix the other ingredients minus the milk.  It isn’t looking right.  There is no way a tiny bit of milk could fixthis mess.  I’ll try it anyway.  And the milk worked MAGIC!  It was icing! I cut off a little of the lopsided layer.   Put the two together into a relatively levelthing that appears to look like a cake. I iced the cake and it looked good. My iced cakes never look good, but praise God this icing and this cakeworked well.  The icing sat up a littlemore than I wanted, but it worked well when I covered it up with foil.  The icing didn’t stick to the foil.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than Iexpected.  So I genuinely hope and praythat cake brought a small relief to the family that lost their loved one.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I have nothing to add

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.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday is my muse 9-05


Soft, cuddly blankets
Steamy yummy cocoa
Falling fluffy snow
Fragrant pine
Spicy cinnamon
Gooey marshmallows
These winter memories
Bring with them
Warm sentiments
On the coldest day of the year.

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

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dinner adventures

It seems that I talk about food a lot.  Sometimes it's Ben's food or bad service or just remembering good food. And every so often it's a restaurant experience.  Today it's almost a restaurant experience.

Thursday night we made plans to try a new restaurant in town with a couple friends the next night.  So Friday night rolls around and so does a thunderstorm, inside the house and outside.  Inside the house, Ben is creating quite a storm.  He has not napped and didn't want to eat the dinner we gave him.  Eating out is no longer an option because Ben is going to bed.  : /  As I attempt to calm my screaming son and get him into bed, a thought hits me.  He might be hungry.  Yes, now I realize this should be obvious because he didn't eat dinner, but at the time it wasn't.  So I asked him if he wanted pizza, which by the way is Ben-speak for a quesadilla.  He stopped crying and looked at me.  I took that as a yes.  We came back in the kitchen/dining room and I fixed his pizza.  He sat and ate very well.

By this time our friends have come over and we are debating about our own food.  The new place in town does deliver.  We could still eat there, even if we can't go there.  But do we want to risk it?  We have a pretty small eating out budget.  We haven't actually been in this restaurant yet or seen the food that it makes.  So we don't really know what it is like.  It would be a pretty big risk to get food delivered as our first experience with this restaurant.  We pretty quickly decide to get food delivered from a restaurant we have already experienced.  We know the pizza is awesome and the subs are pretty rockin too!  So the women ordered subs and the men ordered pizza.

Everything is great, right?  Almost.  The downside of this particular restaurant is that they don't actually tell you how long it will be to get your food.  We realize it is a Friday night and it could be awhile, but I'm getting hungry and I would really like a number to go from.  So I try to entertain myself with other things and listen to the conversation going on around me, but really most of the time I'm just thinking, "Where is that meatball sub?"  After what seems like an eternity, I finally break down and get my phone.  It's been 45 minutes.  That is an eternity in food delivery isn't it?  Shouldn't we be calling and finding out where this guy is?  What if he got lost?  Surely our food is getting cold by now.  We should do something!  Or maybe, I just need to wait a little longer. (Drew's suggestion)  I followed his advice, but I still checked my phone every couple minutes.  After 10 more minutes, I was preparing the conversation in my head asking the whereabouts of our food.

Then finally, it arrived!!  We got it paid for and I couldn't wait to break into it.  But I had to be a nice host first, I delivered the other sandwich and got plates down for the pizza.  I forgot about getting drinks, but thankfully Drew got one of them covered.  I forgot to ask the wife of our guest couple if she wanted a drink. I also forgot napkins.  So she did that herself.  And as I was halfway through my sandwich, I thought, I should have done that.

The moral of this story:  I'm really rude when I'm hungry!

Good stuff Saturday 9-4

Elizabeth Ester The Pornification of Marriage.  Some amazing thoughts about the sacred bond of marriage.

Compassion Nam Jai (Water from the Heart)  A beautiful expression that we should all be living out.

DRGT/Just Wondering When God asks the question: Where are you? I heard this passage discusses 3 times this week.  This one might be my favorite.

World Vision Victory in the War on Hunger? Achievable Lots and lots of encouragement and hope in this post.  

Top of the Page  I've been running on faith  Exactly what is faith?  What does it mean for God?  What does it mean for us?  Leslie tackled these difficult questions beautifully.  Thursday's blog was pretty great too, so check that out while you are over there.

The Jacksons' Journey  Thoughts on coming home As they move home, Ericka has some reservations about being back in the South.  Not being from here originally I can relate to what she is saying.  And it is said so honestly and beautifully.

True Beggars  Three ways to live Some amazing thoughts on who a Christian really is.

Untitled by Michael Perkins Stupid Wildebeest Learn how to avoid being a wildebeest!  This is important because we are wildebeests more often than we know.

Heather Summers Day in the life of Bella Swan This is hilarious, especially if you find Twilight to be a little overly dramatic.  I'm still laughing about it.

Faith, Family and the Farm Skate or Die dudes A rather embarrassing teenage incident turns dangerous.  And everyone learned a little something.