Monday, February 28, 2011


We have graduated from children's Bible songs to K-Love in the the car.

Sometimes other stations as well, but lately I have craved anything inspirational. Some people don't get this music, but for some people, the words can grab a hold of us and rescue or bless us right where we are at.

Grace is really so beautiful. I cannot describe it better than standing out in a spring rain washing all the muck off of you till it is gone and standing before God as he intended you to be. Righteous.

This evening we were driving in the car and this song came on. Savannah was so excited because she knew it and started singing along. Full volume. Terribly off key.

At first I laughed to myself, but then God reminded me that He is blessed by a child's joyful noise.

I think the irony of this is that her off key praise was a picture of grace itself. We get it wrong so often and beat ourselves up over it but God's grace never ends, and when receive it is when we can truly break free from our mistakes and regrets. And that makes Jesus all the more beautiful to me. It also melts the anger I have toward other people when they get it wrong. God gives us grace and in turn we can give it to others, making them more beautiful. Isn't that what Christ did?

As I pumped gas I told Savannah, "I love the way to praise God". She gave me a dreamy smile and said, "yeah."

Live freely in grace.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Stuff.


Since I got all of the kids ready for church, I was not. They left as I was stepping out of the shower. "I'll go in the other car" I yelled. Off they went.

I sat in my husband's car. The gas tank said empty. I left my purse in the other car since I had a load last night..I think. I can't find it at least. Church is a good 20 minutes away, too far to risk it. I really needed it today! The last two weeks I stayed home with sick kids.

This song has summed up February. Please go away February.

Alas, I refuse to mope. Here's the good stuff.

Brookie turned 5. She loves to garden! I am so excited that one of my children love to garden. She can't wait till spring.(just like me) Yesterday we started some flower seeds indoors. I am amazed that this child who bounces off the walls constantly can spend 45 minutes helping me re pot plants....and I mean helping. Again I am thankful for homeschooling.

Ellie was with us this weekend. She helped me make Brookie's cake. I'm so thankful for my time alone with her and get excited when I think about moving closer. Because of possible developmental problems, my sister's doctor strongly recommended abortion. My dear sister strongly refused. Ellie is a complete joy, and she is completely healthy. Despite the odds against her, she is a very happy and productive little girl. What a blessing.

I went out to my possible future home last week to plan out where the house would go. It just felt like home...even though there was no house on the meadow. Ellie and Brookie were with me. Ellie said, "You can't live here! The grass is way too tall!" That made me laugh. Brookie said, "Can we have a garden?"

Yes, my dear we shall have a garden.

I love to paint- so I paint pictures that either have Bible verses on them or represent a verse. I don't always have time to read but reminders around the house can lift my spirits. I worked on one last night the the Psalm 23 verse "He makes me lie down in green pastures". in mind. Where are your green pastures?

A night out with friends?
The gym?
A clean house? lol.

Last night it was a trip to Lowe's by my self. Life is hard. We need green pastures.

I'm not done yet and I still don't have a camera so I took this with my phone. I woked on it while Sook was watching UFC. Now it kinda reminds me of Ultimate Fighting and green pastures.

One more thing- last week when I drove through the flint hills during sunset, I had to get a few phone pics too. This is the best one I got.

Imagine it 10 times more beautiful. I love Kansas. Even in February.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Clearer View

He doesn't want me to talk about it...but I'm gonna say it. I am married to a professional athlete.

No, not NBA or MLB or NFL.

He's a fighter. A boxer. You wouldn't recognize his name. But all in all, he's got some guts.

I didn't like it much, until now. As I nervously watched his last bout, my emotions robbed me of any strength I had to carry out daily life.

Back in the day while we were dating, it was different. I was the supportive girlfriend who liked the kinda thug-ish lifestyle we lived. We were having fun in our cozy carefree life. He could have done more. He was young then. He could have poured his life into the sport he loved. But he didn't. Instead, he married me.

He put his dreams on hold and got a lucrative but demanding job...and kept on as he listened to me complain about one pregnancy after another. He took on the burden of feeding what is now 6 mouths... that's 18 meals a day. Plus snacks.

So he re-entered the game as a professional but turned down the trips to Reno and Vegas, putting in as much time as he could while still making family a priority. He could have chose differently. He chose us... he chose me.

I haven't always been supportive of his choice because I wanted more of him. (Since I like him and all...) I guess now I see what he has sacrificed- if only to know the "what if" of what could have been. I never heard him complain. I've also seen his heart. Not to be the best, but to better himself. I can admire that. Not pre-occupied by what others are thinking if he gets a cut or if his record isn't perfect, but how can he improve. I see a different side.

Marriage is crazy hard. Can you really be married nine years and not completely know someone? YES. That tends to happen with me when I am focused on ME.

He loves me.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs.

Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects, It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.

Love never fails. But prophecy will pass away. Speaking in languages that have not been known before will end. And knowledge will pass away.

When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is a s if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.

The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Home Part 2

Now that I have just given myself permission to focus on home, I have a renewed desire for a different home. One where I can't see the neighbor's house but might see a few deer run across my back view. Maybe a dog? A cat? Fishing?

A garden. Definately.

I don't know when the opportunity will present itself, but I'll be ready when it does. I have a big chunk of my house decorated in my mind.

Until then, I still love this home. It's a great place to work on creating my ideal home. Practicing. Home is the theme God has given me to focus on. A church group talks about "How to Have Heaven In the Home".  In my prayer time, I've re-prioritized a bit.

I want to keep writing children's books, but I will do it with the kids, not away from them. They inspire me and I can imagine how their illustrations would fit in perfectly. Then, we will self publish- and if anything ever comes of it- great. If not, we're gonna have a ball doing it.

Home should be where they feel safe. Safe from uncontrolled anger, safe from hunger, safe from the weight of the world. (And safe from their parents' weight of the world). They know they are loved unconditionally. It's a place where they can freely mess up, learn from it, and still carry no added burden. When each member of our house enters, they should know our excitement that they've graced us with our presence. It should be welcoming in spirit...I'm still working on physically welcoming. Peace should flow through each room. A refuge.

It's a place to learn all sorts of great things! This is the best place for children to be prepared for the adventures of adulthood- character, morals, values, and skills. My higher education enhanced what I had already learned at home. I have no idea what my children will choose to be but I am certain that it will stem from one thing or another about this home. Conversationalists spring forth form everyday life- at home.

Need I say more? I have no argument against a mother working outside of her home- I've done it myself. It should be done if that is one's calling. I do, however, have an argument for someone that thinks a stay at home mom does not produce anything, or does not contribute to the world. A very big argument.

A home that reflects the glory, peace, joy and love that comes from heaven produces a happy family and happy members of that family which in turn produces productivity. God bless our homes.

The LORD is my shepherd,
He gives me everything I need.
He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He gives me new strength,
He guides me in the right paths for the honor of His name.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
You are with me.
Your shepherd's rod and staff comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies.
You pour oil on my head.
My cup runs over.
I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nutrition At It's Best (the best we can do, that is)

I have this recipe that I fell in love with from some healthy magazine- a "healthy" version of shrimp fettuccine alfredo. Mmmmmm.

It calls for fat free half and is that possible? Sorry. I'm not crazy about the fat free half and half. which is probably the part that made it "healthy-er". So at the store my hand cruised right past the fat free stuff and got the regular half and half- which also goes great in my coffee.

I was planning to make spinach quesadillas for supper, but at the last minute realized my husband had stolen all of my spinach. So, I went for the shrimp alfredo. Savannah wanted to help, Summer was finishing up some math, Max was around, and Brookie was working on fine motor skills, cutting up paper towels. Chaos as usual.

I began to make my sauce when Summer needed my help. I stepped away for a minute when I could hear the butter sizzling in the pan, so I ran to the kitchen to put in my flour. While Savannah stirred, I measured out 4.5 tablespoons of flour, as I had remembered from reading the recipe a few minutes earlier. I poured in the half and half and told Savannah to keep stirring until it boiled. It never did. It got so think she couldn't even stir!. I grabbed the carton an poured the rest of the half and half in, along with some whole milk (quickest to grab), and stirred frantically to save my sauce.

I checked the recipe again. Sure enough, it was 4.5 teaspoons, not tablespoons. Then I picked up my carton of half and half to throw away and realized it was not empty. As I panicked, I had poured in the whipping cream instead. It was DE-LI-CIOUS! (I had seconds)

A few hours later...I read Sarah's facebook post about DQ in the snow. Hmmm. Sounded good. So I made an extremely rash decision to announce "we are going out for ice cream!" In an attempt to clean up a bit before leaving, I took a few things to the kitchen where I saw my dirty pan of alfredo sauce. I had forgotten that we had already had our consumption of cream for the evening. Oh well, the cat was out of the bag. Ice cream it is.

I say this just to say... let's get real. Health is a huge priority in my house but sometimes it just doesn't happen. I am not perfect in this area, just like.... well.... any area. And on the other hand, it still needs to be a priority. What kids are eating now days is crazy horrible. Especially considering activity levels tend to equal the horribleness.

So, as a mom and a dietitian, this is my opinion.

Even though it is important for them to get their nutrients, I think it is more important to establish life long habits that will improve quality of life as well as length of life. I'm sure you've heard our children's life expectancy is shorter than ours. Yikes. Forcing them to eat their veggies they hate now may be great for the day but what will happen when they get to choose?

What we do:

1. If I am concerned about someone not getting their vitamins from food, I give them a pill. Flintstones- they are my personal favorite to eat. Developing good habits takes time.

2. Expose, expose, expose them to all kinds of foods. They may hate them- but at least they know what they are. For every meal my rule is they must take a little. I don't care how little, just something. You may end up throwing something away but I still think it is worth it.... remember the life expectancy thing? Kids will eventually warm up to some foods after repeated exposure- and you can't predict what they will be.

3. Instill a spirit of adventure. Be willing to try new foods. We say it is okay if you don't like it, what matters is you tried it! If the parent shows openness to try something new, the kids may follow. If the parents are not willing, I doubt the kids will. Example is key.

4. Provide colorful meals- the more color, the more variety of vitamins. Talk about how pretty it looks! Appreciate food!

5. Just talk about it. How it looks, how it tastes, texture, temperature, why it is healthy, cooking methods, where it is grown, why it is yucky, ANYTHING!

6. When possible, we involve them in any part of the meal. Growing food, preparing, shopping, setting the table... one simple task can make a whole lot of difference. They are more willing to try food when they are a part of the process. They still may not like it, but chances are they'll try it.

7. Know when to stop. Food thrown away is NOT put to better use in a full stomach. I plate their first serving of entree (fairly small) and allow seconds once. I do not put the entree on the table so it is easy to grab. I do, however, put healthy sides on the table and let them serve themselves as much as they want. We typically have dessert once a week, which is served at least an hour after the meal so that the healthy food is not skipped in order to save room for dessert.

9. I don't usually keep "junk" food around the house. Mostly because if it's here, I'll eat it! I keep the fruit bowl full for snacks. Fruit can be expensive- but so can potato chips, store bought cookies, candy, and other unhealthy snacks. Fruit is a much better value. After a while, people acclimate to new ways of thinking and do not need things they thought they did (at least not as much).

Wow. This is getting long. Oh, remember my creamy alfredo meal? The steamed broccoli bowl was also polished off with some wanting more. Kids, that is. Not because I told them they had to, but it has become enjoyable to some, and all are willing to try a little. We may not hit the nail on the head each day, but healthy eating can be a part of our life.