Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I remember when

When I was in 7th grade I attended a private Christian school in McHenry, IL. That has it's own memories saved for another date. THe fact that I rode a bus home comes with it's own set of stories, which I am also storing in a special spot to unload later.

On this particular freezing cold Chicago suburb day, my bus driver dropped me off two streets early and I began to walk home. About half a block down I noticed two doberman pinchers who at the same time noticed me.

I think they owned that street.

They for SURE thought they owned that street. They took off after me and I took off into a nearby yard. Without thinking, I opened the first door I came to and ran inside the house.

An elderly woman in curlers came into the living room.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

I explained about the dogs and she looked out the window to see them panting at her door. Those dogs wanted to eat me for dinner!

The lady, who seemed awfully nice gave me some lemonade and called animal control. It was the last bit of niceness I ever saw in her.

She proceeded to curse at the person on the other end of the phone and when the dog catcher finally arrived (too late for her approval) she cussed at him and threw a house-shoe at his head.

I was a determined little missionary even at that time in my life and I promptly invited her to church, which brought on a new onslaught of foul language all aimed at me.

She called me "Nasty-Girl" every time she saw me after that, and every time I saw her, I asked her to church.

She never did say yes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I remember when

I can remember the time my sister sheared off her tongue with a popsicle.

We lived in Illinois, in the cottage on the Fox River. Renee would lend us all money (she was the family banker) and we would all buy popsicles.

One day she tried to take a lick of hers and her tongue was stuck fast. That popsicle was so frozen that even when we ran water over it, it would not come unglued from her tongue.

Eventually she just pulled that sucker right off. And there we saw part of her tongue hanging from the side of the cherry popsicle.

Serves her right for charging us 50% interest.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I remember

I remember when I was a little girl and was living in Memphis and my mother would hand my sister and I glasses of ice-water to bring out to the garbage men.

It was hot in Memphis, and my mother appreciated having the smelly bags of trash removed. She showed her gratitude for this often thankless job by offering ice water.

I think it was my first taste of what compassion tasted like.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recipe Link List: Part Three

We'll call this recipe category: "OTHER". It will include, sauces, side dishes, and maybe a few nibbles for the sweet tooth.

Coconut Apple Pudding

Sweet Potato Fries (leave off the sugar) (You don't need it)

Salty Sweet Broccoli Salad

Mashed Cauliflower

Creamed Chard

Twice Baked Cauli-tots

Peleo Recipe Link List: Part Two

Let's get these beef recipes out of the way. I have a TON of them.

Purto Rican Beef with a Thai Twist
Gluten Free Peleo Meatballs
Tex Mex Meatza
Meatza Pie
Dry Rub Burgers
Shredded Beef Sandwiches with cabbage and Apple slaw
Mexi Salad with fresh Guacamole
Smokey Roast
Seriously tasty Peleo Meatloaf
Cottage Flower Pie
Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers
Creole Roast

Special Notes: I have had to substitute seasoning quite a bit because of the lack of seasoning available in Ecuador. However, these recipes are tasty enough they stand up to adjustments.

All of these recipes are either kid approved or kid tolerated

I often used my crockpot instead of the oven. i have yet to successfully make an oven roasted roast.

The mexi-Salad, meatball, and meatloaf recipes are a family favorite. The Puerto Rican beef recipe is Dustan's all-time favorite.

The meatloaf recipe is bizarrely lacking in veggies. I always add whatever veggies I have on hand. The recipe is a perfect jumping off point though.

We do not eat the Shredded Beef Sandwich on bread. We just pile it all on a plate and eat it with a fork. This is one of our go-to company recipes.

There are several recipes out there that I have NOT included. This is either because we have not tried them yet, or because they did not work for our family. If you try a beef recipe that is grain free and dairy free that you think I would like, please post the recipe or a link to the recipe in my comment section. As I add new recipes to my rotation, I will come back and add them here.

Peleo Recipe LInk list Part One

I have recently lost enough weight that I am finally in the "healthy" weight range. I spent 10 years being obese and then 2 years in the overweight range.

This year I changed my eating habits to closely follow a Paleo themed eating regimen. I won't go into the description all that much, there is a TON of info online, but I will say I started with a 30 day eating plan outlined on Whole 30. This was tremendously successful for me, and as soon as I see any weight creeping back up, I immediately revert to this very strict eating.

Anyhoo, I wanted to post a list of recipe links that would work for anyone. No need to be trying to lose weight- these recipes are chock full of healthy ingredients and are delicious.

Because I have so many in my rotation, I will break them up into different posts.

Let's start with chicken shall we?

Crockpot Chicken Carnitas
Whole Roasted Chicken
Warm Chicken and Bacon Green Salad
Mexican Crock Pot Stew
Chicken Almond Mole
Best Chicken Fajitas
PiƱa Colada Chicken and Calypso Confetti Cauliflower

Special Notes: I have had to substitute seasoning quite a bit because of the lack of seasoning available in Ecuador. However, these recipes are tasty enough they stand up to adjustments.

All of these recipes are either kid approved or kid tolerated, with the exception of the Chicken Almond Mole which they found to be too spicy. This would be easily adjusted, except for the fact that this is Dustan's and my favorite recipe written as is. I refuse to adjust the heat, because I am cruel that way. They eat fried bologna when I serve this meal.

The Best chicken Fajitas Ever, are another all-time favorite.

There are several recipes out there that I have NOT included. This is either because we have not tried them yet, or because they did not work for our family. If you try a chicken recipe that is grain free and dairy free that you think I would like, please post the recipe or a link to the recipe in my comment section. As I add new recipes to my rotation, I will come back and add them here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Oscar Speech (of sorts)

When I was a little girl, I just KNEW I would one day stand before an audience of millions and thank everyone I knew for my great honor of achieving the gold statue of acting. I started practicing when I was 8. At that point in my life I didn't have very many people to thank. But every year I rearrange my speech. I add, I take away.

One year I was so tired and the Oscars had gone on so loonnnnngggggg, and that one dude practically had a heart-attack screaming his gratitude that I decided when I won MY oscar I would say only "Thank You." and then get down. I think that was when I was 25.

So today, at the age of 36 I woke up and decided I was never going to win an oscar. Crazier things have happened, but when I got out of bed this morning I noticed I suddenly (SUDDENLY) had jowls. My back made an audible creak. My knees tried to give out. It was time to stop hanging on to impossible dreams. I think I may have become an adult this morning.

So, feeling a bit melancholy about giving up my annual planning of my Oscar speech (seriously I think I have finally outgrown it) (It's time dontcha think?) I am going to give you my speech. But without all the movie and acting stuff, because the only thing I have accomplished in my life is... well LIFE. And frankly, that is an accomplishment deserving of a speech. Get ready, because ain't no music gonna cut me off.

I can't go any further without thanking the ones who made all this life stuff possible. Mom and Dad, thank you for loving each other enough. Not sure I should go anywhere else with THAT train of thought. But seriously, without your love for each other, I would be a distant nothing of nothingness, my life, not even a thought in all of eternity.

And thank you for not throwing me out a window. I know you were sorely tempted at times. But, well, look at what happened because of your patience! LIFE! MY LIFE! Gracias mi padres, del bajo de mi corazon.

And I want to thank a few incredible teachers who told me I was not stupid and who gave me the ability to FLY. Mr. Smith, Mrs Solan G Freeman, and Mr. Popovich. You all deserve this mention in my achievement of life speech, because of you, I love learning, I love experiencing life through education, and I am pretty sure it is all your fault I never graduated from college. How could I finish when there were so many other interesting things to study and learn?

I want to thank Christina Moon, the Burns girls, Michelle Sass, Brittany McFarland, and Tara P and Gwen W for making sure every era of my life was filled with friendship. Michelle, you get a special note of thanks for making sure my teenage self did not park her car in front of a train.

I want to thank Seth and Renee, two of the best (and worst) siblings a girl could have ever wanted. You made me successful in parenting. No way would I have been able to achieve my level of obnoxious parenting without having had all the practice you provided me with.

Now I want to thank a few nameless or partially nameless people. Missionaries from 3rd grade GA camp, Missionary from Russia from the GA mother daughter banquet, Missionaries in all those stories I read. Marion or Miriam- I am sorry I forgot your name, and Mrs Smith? Thank you for bending a teenage heart towards missions.

Listen carefully, you did not just change MY life. You have changed the lives of every person I have ever shared my faith with. You have touched the lives of countless children in Florida, teenage girls in East St Louis, un-wed mothers in crisis pregnancies in St Clair county, single teenage moms in Granite city, and young people, children, and adults in Loja, Ecuador.

Dustan. Ummm, thank you for not throwing my moody self off a bridge. Thank you for loving me in a way that makes me better understand Christ's love for me. Thank you for encouraging me in my every endeavor. Thank you for being the weight to my helium ballon personality.

Heavenly Father, Savior, Creator of my being. To you all thanks belong. The very breath I breath comes from you, every person in my life, every opportunity, every blessing, is your gift to me. My life is the best birthday present ever, and THAT comes from you.

Thank You. Thank you all!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Letter to my Mom on Mother's Day

Dear Mom,

When I was a little girl you used to say such things as, “When you grow up, I hope you have a little girl just like yourself.” and “When you grow up, you will be terribly sorry for how you acted as a child.” and “One day you will thank me for this.” and “One day you will wish you could take naps.

So on this Mother’s Day of 2011, as I sit staring out my window, at 9:00 in the morning, and already longing for a nap, I have a few things to say to you.

First off. In answer to your “One day I hope you have a little girl just like yourself”. I got one. Only he is a boy. And I will never wish himself on himself. You need to write me a letter of apology. NOW!

Secondly, I am sorry. Remember that time I stole Dad’s antique coin collection and spent it on popsicles and pencils? Remember how embarrassed you were when the school called to tell you had had been buying penny erasers with coins from 1800? I am sorry.
I am also sorry for the call that sent you to the school after I walked into the boy’s bathroom, the one that sent you running when I tried to pull out another girl’s hair, and that time I played my Rhino bowling game in the school hallway (I bent over and ran down the hallway and counted how many kids I knocked down.)
I am kind of sorry I finally got the boot from school. I am definitely sorry for all the embarrassment you had to feel over my misbehaviors.

I am also sorry for being a brat as a teenager. In fact I AM SORRY FOR BEING A TEENAGER at all!

I am sorry for changing my major 18 times in college.
I am sorry for telling you that you were the worst mother on the planet. I am even more sorry for all those times when I made you FEEL like the worst mother on the planet. For all those times you wished I would run away or wanted to slap a “For Sale” sign on my back... I am sorry.

I am sorry for bickering and fighting with my brother and sister. I am sorry for locking Renee out of the house and for slobbering on Seth. I know now how miserable that had to have made your life. I am oh so very sorry. (Can you please call my kids and ask them to stop now? I am pretty sure justice has been served)

Thirdly, THANK YOU.

Thank you for loving me even in those times when you thoroughly disliked me. Maybe even hated me. But you still loved me.

Thank you for homeschooling me, even when you didn’t want to. It made a huge impact on my life, and I am successfully educated because of it. You did not deserve to make that sacrifice, but because you did, God blessed my life in great ways.

Thank you for teaching me to read. And for loving everything that I write. You are my biggest fan and I LOVE that about you.

Thank you for teaching me about boys. And about Men. Thank you for pushing me towards patience when it came to them.

Thank you for being funny even when you were angry.

Thank you for filling my parenting tool box with such things as “I will hang you upside down by your toenails” and “Would you like me to lock you in the whine cellar?” and “Let’s clean the baseboards! With toothbrushes!!!” Those tools lighten up every one of my tense mothering moments.

Thank you for valuing education and seeking yours even into my adulthood.

Thank you for all the memories. For cows in cars, for powdered milk covered walls, for egg yolks on daddy’s head, for Swat team investigations, for after school spankings, for piles of books, for thumb twiddling lessons, for mornings spent under the covers of your bed, for hair brushing torture sessions, for half a trip to Granny’s house, for a year’s worth of groundings...

I thank you for all of them.

And as a token of my thanks, I post the following touching video:

Friday, April 08, 2011

Grace Explosion:

So this blog here is not where I talk about my walk with my Savior, or my Spiritual growth. It's about housekeeping, and such stuff like that. A place that you used to be able to come to read pithy tales of my life as a homemaker, to find badly written recipes, and funny stories about my hilarious kids. Lately, it's been a place you could come and hear the crickets chirping.
Today I am breaking from all of that. Today any readers I have left will see in full force that which drives me. My God. I have no idea what the future of this blog holds, whether it will be a place for more similar musings or if it will return to the way of the chirping crickets, but I do know this:
What I say today, is what I have wanted to say for a long time. I just couldn't hold it in any longer. It exploded.

You know what I love? I love when Christians embrace grace so hard that it explodes and oozes out all over anyone who stands near them. Try it today.

Do you have a load of dirty dishes, a mountain of laundry, and children who would rather be chasing each other around with knives than singing Koombaya? Did you homemade yogurt curdle? Did your homemade laundry soap leave your clothes smelling sour? Does your garden have more weeds than carrots? Are you a housekeeping failure?

Did your child get seriously ill from a vaccine? Did your son get hepatitis from your lack of vaccinating him? Did your 15 year old daughter come home and tell you she is having a baby? Did you have to place your parents in a nursing home? Did you two year old paint his walls with peanut butter? Or worse? Is your 8 year old hanging upside from a tree, his arm in a cast from when he fell last week? (You might want to go get him down.) Are you a mothering failure?

Do you have a husband who comes home and sighs because his personal time is interrupted by you handing him a stinky baby, his son handing him a notebook of unsolvable math problems and you giving him a list of all the ways your day SUCKED? Are you a wifely failure?

Did you forget to read your Bible today? And yesterday too? Oh, and last week? Was the last time you touched your Bible on Sunday when you carried it to church? Did you forget to pray for your kids today? Did you let an inner curse fly into your head when your neighbor’s dog wouldn’t SHUT UP at 3 am? Ummm.... was that curse actually a bit less than an inner mental one? Are you a Spiritual failure?

Did you hear the phone ring and then ignore it because, well, you just couldn’t deal with her today? Did you avoid opening an email from the church children’s worker leader so that you can later say. “Oh, I am sorry, I never got that email?” Did you eat that package of snicker bars that were meant for the food pantry? And the cans of tuna too? Are all that you have left those 15 cans of Rutabegas? Are you a ministry failure?

Did you start ANOTHER diet today? Which is different than the one you started yesterday? Did you gain 5 pounds on the “eat the snickers that were meant for the food pantry diet? Did you skip a shower today? And maybe yesterday too? Have you skipped shaving you legs for over a year? Did you throw out your fat jeans because they were too small? Are you a personal failure?

I have some news for you. Sit down, because it will blow you away. Today I embraced God’s grace for myself, and it’s about to explode all over you!

Guess what? God loves you. He doesn’t care that you are a failure. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS FOLLOWERS ARE FAILURES.

All that stuff above? It’s pretty bad (especially if you kids are chasing each other with knives. I would put a stop to that if I were you). It’s REALLY REALLY BAD. It’s selfishness, it’s manipulation, it’s lying, it’s... well, if you really ate those snickers bars, it’s stealing. You are a BAD person! Yay! You are a FAILURE! YAY!

Cause guess what? Everything I know about God says that every single person he loves is a PRETTY bad person. A failure.

God is a lover of people failures.

I don’t know how it is. I can’t explain it. It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t have any analogies that even come close to describing it. Fathers don’t love this way. Mothers don’t love this way. God is different and he FRIGGIN loves me.

People. Do you get it? Even while I am mired in sin (which will be the rest of my ever lovin’ life) God LOVES ME.

So. You are a failure. Good. Means you are human. Like me.

Oh, and guess what?


So, accept it and then go explode yourself all over someone with all that pure joy you have.

Disclaimer: I KNOW that God doesn’t want you to keep cussing the neighbor’s dog out every morning at 3 AM. I know He wants you to dig in His Word more than Sundays.

But He also wants you to embrace HIS GRACE! And He wants you to do that first.

So, tell me. What will your grace explosion look like today?