Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Song Worth Singing

The other day when I was out and about, I saw a mini-van with a woman driving and what appeared to be her two young daughters in the backseat.  It looked like they were all singing.  And it brought memories flooding back to me.

When my two girls were young, it seemed we spent a lot of time in the car.  Living in a small town 10 miles away from our church, shopping, many of our activities, and a lot of our friends - it’s just what we did.  That was back in the days when we all had bigger hair, my eyeglasses were as large as my face, and I had a snazzy wardrobe that included leggings and razzle-dazzle tops.  We eventually moved to town, but we were still on the go a lot.  Sometimes they fought over who got to sit up front.  Make no mistake - it was not to be close to me.  It was for control of the radio! (I’m not sure I ever heard an entire song for a couple of years there in the early 90’s!)  And then came the age of the Walkman.  From then on, they were usually both in the back of my mini-van, each with their own knock-off version of a Walkman, both singing their guts out to a different song!

When I think back to those days of raising my girls, the hindsight thing kicks in and I wish I had done some things differently.  However, history is what it is and we can’t go back.  I know I made mistakes, and for that, I humbly apologize to my children.  But I was just doing the best I knew how at the time.  We had our share of mother / daughter disagreements, frustration, and trials.  But I think we also had some good times and fun along the way.  I know I have a lot of wonderful memories of their childhood.  I hope they do, too!  

But maybe I did some things right raising them.   In their metamorphosis from childhood years into the adult world, they traveled totally different paths.  And they have both emerged into amazing young women.  They are intelligent, articulate, driven, funny, compassionate, and fiercely loyal to those they love.  And they are both beautiful.  

They still march to different drummers and sing their own song.  And it puts a song in my heart to think about them.  My song is one of praise to God for allowing me the privilege of being their Mom!

So to you – Jenny and Katie – I just want to tell you how very special and precious you both are to me.  You are treasures beyond worth and I love you so much!

“Children are a gift from the Lord.”  Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's My B-Day!

Tomorrow I’m celebrating my B-day.  I’m not planning party or anything like that.  The celebration is in my soul.  You see, it’s not my birth-day, but it’s my baptism-day!

I was baptized as a child – I think I was in the 4th grade.  But as I look back on my life I know now that I had no real idea at that time what baptism meant.  I was a rebellious child at best (so sorry Mom & Dad!) but I was also a pleaser.  My best guess is that when I was asked if I understood what baptism meant, that I said yes.  But over the last few years I have questioned if I was really saved and it has bothered me.  

For years I have prayed for many who are dear to me – especially my children – that God would speak to them in a way that was real to them.  But it seems that He has been working in and speaking to me also.  What I have discovered is that I knew who Jesus was, but I did not know Him.  In the past few months, I have truly encountered Him and I finally know with certainty what He did for ME on that cross.  For the first time ever in my life, when that knowledge finally sunk into my brain and into my heart, I fell to my knees, face down before God.  I am forgiven and free.  And I am grateful.  So now, it just seems like an act of obedience that I am baptized again, this time fully knowing the significance of the act.

Six years ago I married an amazing man.  It is in large measure due to him that I am where I am today on my spiritual journey.  We study together and pray together. He has encouraged me and taught me so much.   It is for that reason that I asked Mark if he would baptize me.  And he said yes!!!  I’m so excited!  We’ve talked to our Pastor, tomorrow is the day, and I am ready to celebrate!  God is so good.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good . . . Psalm 106:1

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Opening Day

The Event:  
Spring Cleaning 2011 - Episode #1

 (Note:  Hardly any weeds in the beds - reaping the rewards of 2010 chemical warfare!)

The Conditions:  
Mid 70's
Light breeze
Hardly a cloud in the beautiful blue sky

The Help:  
(Picking up sticks)

(Stomping down the leaves)

(Running the leaf blower)

We raked out all of the beds around the house, mowed, and then tested all of the sprinklers.  Because I took the time to do a lot of the clean-up in the fall, we had plenty of time left to play a little football & soccer,  and to have a great chat under the big tree in the front yard.

I have an extensive list of garden chores on my agenda for this garden season.  But for right now, I'm just enjoying the beautiful weather and am grateful for what has been accomplished.

The 2011 garden season is officially open.  It's going to be a great year!!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty

The Drummer Guy has been looking through the pantry over and over for a tasty snack.  I don't think he is seeing much to his liking -  the primary contents in there right now are granola bars, quite a few boxes of cereal (good sale - great coupons!), and flour.  I seem to have a lot of flour.  I found a bag of pretzels hiding away in the back, so I whipped him up a little treat today. 

Ranch Pretzels

- 16 oz. pkg. twisted mini pretzels
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
- 1/2 c. oil

Mix together garlic powder, dressing mix, and oil.  (I'm always trying to cut down the fat in recipes so I only used 1/3 cup - they turned out fine.)  Place pretzels a large roasting pan.  Pour oil mixture over pretzels and stir well, until all pretzels are well coated.  Bake in 225 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

I think the Drummer Guy will be a happy snacker tonight!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Today I was searching online for a quick and easy muffin recipe and ran across this one on the All Recipes site.  When I first read this recipe I thought that there was no way this would work - no eggs, no oil. If I had not read on down further into the comments section of the post I probably would have passed on this recipe.  Several of the comments voiced my same skepticism, but offered assurances that the recipe was fantastic and to just trust that it would work.  So I gave it a whirl.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Table of Contents:
- 1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.  In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, pumpkin puree, and spices until smooth.  Spoon equal amounts of batter into the muffin cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

The Outcome:
I changed up the recipe just a little.  I used a spice cake mix and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.  I also made them as mini-muffins and baked them for about 18 minutes.  (It made 3 dozen.)  The Drummer Guy and I both loved these.  They are so moist and full of pumpkin flavor.  And so easy that even The Drummer Guy could make them!

I heart pumpkin recipes!

Grand Finale

This is it - the culmination, the completion, the achievement of a goal.

But something unexpected happened along the journey.  I have discovered that I like dicing, slicing, and chopping.  Stirring, kneading, and sautéing have become therapeutic.  I have found that it is OK to cook with a little butter once in awhile.  (But I still will NOT use heavy cream – just can’t do it!)  I love looking through cookbooks, online recipe sites, and blogs for great new goodies for us to try.  Who knew – this project has led me to really like to cook.

So – I did it!  The Resolution has been fulfilled.  But it is not the end of the road.  I still have several recipes that we have tried that I will eventually get around to posting.  And I have probably a dozen new recipes that I can hardly wait to try.

But for now, here it is - the big finish.  Recipe #22:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Table of Contents:
-          2 ½ c. white flour
-          1 c. whole wheat flour
-          3 c. granulated sugar
-           2 tsp. baking soda
-          2 tsp. ground cinnamon
-          1 tsp. ground nutmeg
-          1 tsp. salt
-          1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
-          1 c. canola or vegetable oil
-          4 large eggs
-          2/3 c. water
-          1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans or three 8x4-inch loaf pans.  In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together canned pumpkin, oil, eggs, and 2/3 cup water until well combined and stir into dry ingredients, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and no dry streaks remain.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove the bread from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Run a knife gently around the edge of the bread and turn the bread out, right side up, onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The Outcome:
The Drummer Guy does not generally get too excited about baked goods.  He likes them, but he’s more of a meat and potatoes or salty snack type of guy.  He loved this bread.  Frequently when I make cakes, cookies, or this type of bread, we will eat on it a few days, then it gets forgotten in the bread drawer and I end up throwing it out.  We finished every bite of this one.  I love pumpkin bread anyway, but there is something wonderful about the blending of the pumpkin and chocolate chip flavors.  I will probably be making this bread again soon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

(In)Security Blanket

I'm pretty good about keeping the clutter at bay in our house.  At any given time you can usually find a box in the basement where I put things we no longer have a use for.  When it is full, I make a Goodwill run. 

But I have a had a hard time letting go of this:

And this:

And this:

That's not even all of it.  My clothes have invaded our entire house - most every closet, drawer, and flat space. They range in size from too big, down to the size 8 "I Have a Dream" collection.  My insecurity has kept me from letting them go.

I've finally decided my security cannot be wrapped up in clothes that don't fit me anymore.  I have to do something about it -  it's time to let go.  I think it's OK to do it.

Monday, October 25, 2010


"For MY thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways MY ways,” declares the LORD.      Isaiah 55:8

I have been experiencing a struggle with faith.  I believed God had shown me that I was to do something.  I took some action steps that I thought were what I was supposed to do in order to accomplish this task.  But nothing happened; the doors all seemed to be closed.  I did not understand and had pretty much decided that I had not heard God correctly.  I was prepared to let it go.

But once again I strongly felt that God was telling me I was supposed to do something.  However, this time, He showed me that the way I had envisioned carrying out this task was not what He had in mind at all.  What He was showing me was way out of my comfort zone.  I asked Mark, who I consider spiritually wise, if he thought I was capable of doing it.  He told me that it did not matter what he or I (or for that matter anyone else) thought.  If God wanted it done by me, He would accomplish it through me.

The project is in motion.  In some ways I have felt blessed by what has happened so far, but in other ways frustrated and not understanding.  Mark encouraged me to think about Psalm 62:8:  “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."  So I did just that.  I cried out to God and told him the things on my heart - about my thoughts, my feelings of inadequacy, my frustrations.

But then something incredible happened.  I experienced a quietness in my soul.  I felt I was hearing something - like a whisper - come from deep within me.  I know it has to be the Holy Spirit moving in me.  This is not the kind of thought that I come up with on my own!  I understand now that this has never been about what the task is, or if the project even moves forward.   It doesn’t even matter if the project outcome is what I (or the world) would call a success.   This is about obedience – and being willing to do what God told me to do.

Following God’s leading does not happen automatically – at least not for me.  It is a matter of continual choice.  Having a desire to be what God wants me to be and do what He wants me to do is good, but it requires action on my part.  I want to be obedient to God’s will.