Sunday, November 29, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday

With the Christmas season upon us and messages being hurled at our kids about presents, presents, presents it is easy to understand why my 3 year old melted down at the craft store today when I told him he couldn't have a bag of colorful buttons. It also gives credence to the message in the Bible that we are born with sin in our hearts; I know I have never taught Samuel how to be greedy (well not intentionally anyway).

I know a lot of this is developmentally normal for him but I also think its never too early to teach our kids about the dangers of greed. Bug calls it "heart training" and I like that term; I'll be using it from now on! :)

Wouldn't you know the wonderful book of wisdom has a few words to say about greed. A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper (Proverbs 28:25).

The tradition of gift giving at Christmas is a wonderful way to bless others but as we do our shopping and wrapping lets pray for our kids to be filled with a hunger for the things of God and not just more and more material items.

Lord, thank You for this wonderful season to reflect on Your Son's birth and to celebrate with friends and family. I pray for ___________ to understand, even just a little bit, the concept of greed; I pray You will fill his heart up with a desire to be generous to others and with a hunger for You. Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I want you to know I am VERY thankful that you come here every day and read my stuff. It means the world to me to have an "outlet" and the fact that anybody reads it is wonderful. The fact that you enjoy it is a cherry on top.

God bless each of you and your families this day.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

As I promised, here are the letters Santa wrote the kiddos. They should be arriving from the North Pole in a couple of weeks! If you plagiarize them, I will find out and my wrath and justice will be swift. You've been warned.

Dear Samuel,
Thank you for your letter! Every day after the mail comes Mrs. Claus and I sit down to read the letters that come from little boys and girls from all over the world. We always love to hear from you, Samuel Henderson! You are such a special little boy and from your very first Christmas I knew it would always be a treat to come to your house.

I have asked my elves to make you something very special and I think you are really going to love it. I’ve been thinking about you all year long and am excited for you to see what my elves have made you. You will find it under your Christmas tree on Christmas morning!

It has been very snowy up here at the North Pole. I love to eat soup on cold days and Mrs. Claus always makes me yummy cornbread with honey butter on it! After we get our work done for the day, the elves and I go feed the reindeer and then we run and play in the snow. We like to build snowmen and go sledding.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year because Mrs. Claus and I love to celebrate Baby Jesus’ birthday! We love to sit in front of the cozy fireplace and read the story of His wondrous birth in the Bible. I know you love to read the Bible with your Mommy and Daddy.

Samuel, you are such a special little boy and I know you are a good helper to your parents. Thank you for obeying your Mommy and Daddy and for being kind to your little sister, Emily. It always makes me smile when I think about your tender heart.

Merry Christmas Samuel; I can’t wait to eat those delicious cookies you always leave out for me!

Santa Claus


Dear Emily,

I have been thinking about you all year long and am so happy to finally be wishing you a Merry Christmas. Mrs. Claus and I have been busy preparing for this most magical time of the year—the birthday celebration of Baby Jesus! I understand you are just learning about Christmas: the lights, the tree, the wonderful cookies and Christmas songs. You are very young but as you grow older you will learn more and more about why Christmas is so joyous and I hope you will always carry the magic of Christmas in your heart.

A little elf told me that you love hot chocolate! Well guess what? I love hot chocolate too! Mrs. Claus and I love to snuggle up in a blanket and drink hot chocolate and read letters from little boys and girls. We got a special letter from your brother Samuel this year. Next year you will be old enough to send your own letter and I can’t wait to read it!

On Christmas morning you will find a special present under your tree just for you. You are such a wonderful little girl Emily Henderson and I loved having my elves make you this present for you; they put a lot of love in to it.

My sleigh is almost packed full of presents for all the little boys and girls and it won’t be long until I make my way to your house. Be listening for jingle bells on your roof on Christmas Eve night; that will be my reindeer and me. Thank you for the treats you left out for me and my reindeer last year—I can always count on your generous heart, Emily Henderson! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Santa Claus

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That's How We Roll

I know some of you don't do the Santa thing and that's cool and I respect it. I'm sure you have great reasons and most likely your kids will end up evangelizing my kids because we all know that the letters in Santa also spell out Satan. Yep, got it.

We do the Santa thing. We also do the Jesus thing. And in case you're wondering, or just judging, we do the Jesus thing MORE than the Santa thing because we want our kids to understand the real reason why we celebrate Christmas; we just think the Santa thing is pretty darn fun. I'm not going to go in to my tangent on the commercialism of Christmas and why I hate presents because it will only confuse you because, well because, we do the Santa thing. And I know this paragraph is loaded with hypocrisy so why not heap a little more on... Even though we don't get our kids 3 hours of unwrapping worth of presents we do get them all hyped on a present from Santa.

Let me flashback here for a moment and let you know that Samuel has been asking for a Talking Buzz Lightyear for pretty much the better part of 5 months. And for the better part of 5 months we've been telling him that "maybe Santa will get it for you" so that we wouldn't have to shell out the $40 for it during not-Christmas. Well lo and behold a few weeks ago I was pacifying the midgets in the car with my junk mail and Samuel happened to get the Walmart flyer. I'm sure in Samuel's mind this was not coincidence but more like all the stars aligning and the sky opening up and God smiling down on him and saying he was meant to have a Talking Buzz because THERE ON THE THIRD PAGE was a Talking Buzz.

That night we cut it out, pasted it on paper and Samuel dictated a letter to Santa to me. Here it is, EXACTLY the way he dictated it to me (ok, I added the "Your Friend" closing). He is so flipping cute I can't even stand it.

In the full spirit of Jolly Old Saint Nickolaus, since Samuel's and Emily's first Christmases I have written them letters from Santa and had them mailed to them. I send them up to a post office in Fairbanks, Alaska and they postmark them from the North Pole and its super cute and corny and I put them in their baby books. This will be the first year Samuel really gets it and I'm more excited than ever to get "Santa's" letter.

If you're interested in doing this, put your written letter in an addressed and stamped envelope to your child and then enclose it in a bigger envelope addressed to:
North Pole Christmas Cancellation
5400 Mail Trail
Fairbanks, AK 99709-9999

Tomorrow, unless something really exciting happens, I will put their Santa letters up for you to read. Wahoo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Attitude of Gratitude

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 30:12, That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. In my Bible I have it underlined and next to it I wrote, "Samuel Edward: 4.12.06". Our friends gave us this verse when Samuel was born and we loved it so much we claimed it for Samuel and even had it printed on his birth announcements.

If you haven't claimed a verse for your child, I encourage you to do so (Roo's is Isaiah 63:7). This has nothing to do with today's PYKM so I'm not even going to charge you for it.

Anyway...back to Psalm 30:12. Oh to not let our hearts be silent; to be giving thanks to God for all He has done. What a happy thing to teach our kids; that they have a loving King to give thanks to. That no matter what circumstance they are in, there is always something to give thanks to God for. You can be a great model for your kids by thanking God, not just in bedtime prayers, but all throughout the day. "Thanks God for keeping us safe as we drove to preschool." "Thanks God for the sunshine this afternoon." "Thanks God for helping me have self-control." You get the idea.

Can I encourage you to not look at this week as the last hurdle to get through until you can start celebrating Christmas? This week is a wonderful week to be thankful for your blessings and to serve others. Do some practical things with your kids this week to remind them of how God blesses them over and over and help train them to have grateful hearts to their Heavenly Father.

Father, You are more generous than I could ever imagine. You have given me more gifts than I can even thank You for; my mind is too small to even fathom how much You give to me. Lord, I pray for ________ to begin to understand Your goodness, faithfulness and mercy even at her early age. I pray that she will always be able to find something to thank You for no matter what circumstances she finds her life in. Thank You for ________. Thank You for giving her to me to love and raise and thank You for loving her even more than I do. Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Switching Gears

I'm pulling the ol' 180 on you and going from slightly inappropriate to Biblical commentary in one fell swoop. Hold on tight.

Green Bean Stir Fry Rachel posted a challenge on her Facebook page to read the New Testament by Christmas and to not be deterred by the fact that it started with genealogy. I was really inspired by the way Rachel stated, "bringing a little sanctity in to the crazy holiday season" so I said I was in.

I'll be honest, when I sat down the first morning I was a little tempted to skip right over the genealogy but instead I asked God to show me something new in the litany of Jesus' lineage. And guess what? He did!

Matthew, chapter 1, verse 6b "David was the father of Solomon whose mother had been Uriah's wife". So I'm reading this and my first thought is "Why would God have Matthew write that Solomon was the son of "Uriah's wife"? Isn't that a little rude, bringing up David's past sins and all?

In case you're not familiar with the story, here's a really brief synopsis: David sees Bathsheba, who is married to Uriah, and wants her for his own. He has her husband killed so he can be with her, they have Solomon and the rest is history. So again, I wondered why God had Matthew write that Solomon's mom was "Uriah's wife" and not just "Bathsheba". I know when I sin I don't like people bringing it up and reminding me of it... And then it dawned on me that perhaps God had Matthew write it like this to remind us that even David, a man who committed adultery with another man's wife and then had that man killed, could be used to fulfill God's purpose and prophesy in the birth of the Messiah.

God has a wonderful knack of taking our nastiest sin, the one we most deeply want to bury and forget, and redeeming it. He is a Redeemer.

So there I sat in my favorite red chair, loving the quietness of my house and hearing God talk to me through His Word and I worshipped and prayed thanksgiving that not only was that baby, who was born in a smelly stable and laid in a feeding trough to sleep, Emmanuel but also a Redeemer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All the Cool Kids are Doing It

Never want to miss a post? Become a "follower" of this blog! Don't know how? Very top left hand corner (up in the tan part) click the "Follow" button. If you don't see it, hit the refresh button and it should show up.

Then, tell your friends how to be a cool kid too and have them become a follower!

Word to the wise: don't tell your mother or she'll ask you if your friends jumped off a bridge would you too?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NOT a Retraction

I had planned on writing about my New Testament Christmas pledge and something cool I read about in Matthew this week but have to write something else thanks to Hot Jeff.

So apparently Jeff's youth is not the only thing that left town when he turned 40 last month. Apparently Jeff's sense of humor packed up and headed somewhere Tropic right along with his 30s because last night after he read my HILARIOUS post about my virgin hair he basically, in not as few as words, called me racist. That's right: racist. He likened me to Don Imus. Now I may be a lot of things (crass, irreverent, painfully charming, disarmingly beautiful) but I am not racist and I certainly am not Don IMUS.

Jeff said I may have "crossed a line" with the whole nappy-hair-talking-in-Ebonics stuff and that if I had said that in the "workplace" I probably would have lost my job. Ok, seriously Jeff: LOOSEN UP. 1) Hot Jeff is just jealous because while he may be very hot he has very straight, thin hair. And it is beginning to gray. 2) A little controversy WOULD BE AWESOME for my blog's notoriety. Will someone PLEASE get offended about something I write and call the Today show and have Matt Lauer interview me. Can you imagine the hits I would get on this thing? Advertisers would be knocking down my door and I could roll in the money donate the money to women with nappy hair poor kids.

In my interview with Matt Lauer I would say I am NOT a racist and that was simply poking fun at myself. I never meant to imply that people with nappy hair speak in Ebonics nor do I think people with nappy hair smoke marijuana, medically or non-medically. I would ask all the nappy haired,marijuana smoking, Ebonic speaking blog followers of mine who decided they would never read another written word of mine to come back, come back please. I would also tell all the non-virgin hairs who left hurt and wounded to come back and that they always have a place at my table. Well, maybe not at my table, no one wants to risk getting dirty hair in their food, but always a place at my blog. Ah, crap I did it again. I just implied that if your hair isn't a virgin it is dirty. I just can't win.

Please note, for the record, I labeled this blog post under the "Things I Like" category. That's because I like people who speak Ebonics and drink 40s and smoke marijuana. Come on, don't leave mad!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nappy No Mo'

Salon Sara called yesterday and said she had a new hair color she wanted to try on me. Lucky me it just happened to be the first Monday of my no-kids-on-Monday-mornings morning so I buzzed right over there.

Now I have to tangent right now on my hair or else the miracle of this story will be totally lost on you. My hair is nappy. As in As in if I didn't spend money on soothing gels and defrizzing sprays and moisturizing moisturizer I would have friends asking me to "come over Friday night cold chillin' with a 40 and a blunt". Which to readers without nappy hair means "Do you want to come over on Friday night and we'll leisurely drink a 40 ounce bottle of malt liquor and smoke a marijuana cigarette". You dope?

So anyway, back to Salon Sara... She said this new hair color doesn't have ammonia in it (which I don't really care about but she seemed really excited about it so I acted excited too) and that after 5 uses it would actually take my hair back to "a virgin state". I never knew my hair had ever been a virgin but once I found out it wasn't a virgin anymore I started getting suspicious and wondering about the sneaky neighbor hair next door and trying to remember if I had ever seen him sneaking glances across the yard at my hair. If my hair gets knocked up there will be no end to my wrath...

Anyway, Sara was right. This new hair color is pretty awesome. It didn't smell and seriously left my hair feeling so smooth without any product! Let me say that again: left my hair feeling so smooth without any product. And that was just one coloring. I'm not certain but I don't even think my hair is a virgin again yet and it was smooth without any product! Sara styled my hair all up cute and puffy and put a sassy red flower barrette in and sent me on my way to stop traffic with my dead sexy hair. And stop traffic I did. At red lights people were motioning for me to roll down my window and then asking, "Is your hair a virgin?" "Almost" I would reply and then give them a knowing wink.

One last thing: if you see my hair out past 10:00 wearing red boots and too much lipstick you tell her to get her trampy self home and to stop walking the streets lookin' like she's just going to give it up to anybody. Sara and I have our work cut out for us but I'm determined to make my hair a virgin again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday

We're going practical this week and praying for sleep! Whether you have a newborn or 15 year old you know the importance of sleep and your kids. It is an ongoing battle at my house and if one kid is taking the night off and actually getting sleep the other one is up and making sure that Hot Jeff and I don't get too comfy in our big bed.

I know I'm not alone on this one as it seems like one or all my girlfriends are lamenting over their kids not sleeping or having difficulty staying asleep. And just when it seems we get them to sleep...we wake up and they are teenagers and sleep all day. I wonder if and when we are ever free from our children's sleep habits? :)

Kids and sleep is a funny thing: everyone thinks their technique is best so I'm not even going there! This week we're just concentrating on how big our God is and how amazing it is that He cares about how our kiddos sleep. It never ceases to amaze me that Elohim, the Strong and Mighty One, who holds the world in His hands cares if Samuel and Emily sleep through the night. He cares if they have bad dreams. He cares if they are fearful of the dark. He cares and He sends His great Comforter to them, just as He does to us.

Oh strong and mighty God, Lord who created heaven and earth with one word and calms the raging sea with a whisper, will You be the great Calmer tonight. Will you pour Your Presence in to ___________'s room and soften his heart so he feels Your Spirit and recognizes Your comfort. I pray You will put angels around his room and bed to protect him as he sleeps. I pray his sleep with be peaceful and restful and he will awake refreshed and restored. Thank You for being the Prince of Peace, our Jehovah Shalom who never slumbers nor sleeps and who watches over ____________ as You do Israel. Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I am on the most amazing leadership team at church. 10 women who are all really in love with Jesus and who have a heart for ministry and young moms. The leadership team is called "Council" and I don't know how they got that name but I truly believe the name makes the group that much cooler.

I've dreamed of being on Council since I was just a little tot; some girls want to grow up and be teachers or nurses or princesses but I wanted to be on Council. You can imagine my excitement when I was asked to lead the Mothers Moments team for Hearts at Home which, in turn, gave me a seat on Council. The heavens opened wide, angels were singing, the sun was shining down upon me and a beautiful rainbow with fairies swirling around it was off in the distance. The clouds in the sky spelled out Jennifer + Council = True Love Forever.

In our bible study this week we studied releasing our fears and trusting God; something I've never been very good at. I'm afraid of everything. New freckle: must be melanoma. Headache? Its probably a tumor. Emily doesn't sit still for a movie? She must be ADHD. Samuel hit the neighbor girl--he's going to grow up to be a psychopath. You get the idea but here's some more. I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of death. I'm afraid of going blind. I'm afraid of terrorists hijacking my flight. I'm afraid of a hitchhiker climbing over 200 yards of 7 feet tall blackberry bushes and one 6 foot tall fence to break in to my house and kill me. I'm afraid a pissed off tax payer will blow up the Revenue building and Jeff will die a fiery death.

I am afraid of everything.

But this post isn't about me. Its about Heidi. Heidi is on Council with me and seriously one of my favorite people on the PLANET. I'm pretty sure Heidi and I were separated at birth because we're so much alike. Well except for one small thing: Heidi is Super Woman. And I mean that figuratively and literally. Here's Heidi at Halloween. She's the one in the red tights.

Now I know Heidi has fears. She's human and she has kids and struggles and crap but she also has a pretty healthy view of putting fear in its place and putting her trust in the Most High God. I admire her more than she'll ever know.

In this same study we were supposed to tell someone who has a bold, fearless spirit that they inspire us with their faith and trust in God so here's my little love letter to Heidi (just today she was bemoaning the fact that she's never been mentioned on my blog so this should shut her up for awhile)...

My dear sister Heidi,
Your friendship means the world to me. You make me laugh. A lot. You inspire me creatively and spiritually. You have cried with me, prayed with me and acted like an ass with me. Thank you for your transparency and realness. Thank you for having a bold, fearless spirit and thank you for modeling what it looks like to "dwell in the shelter of the Almighty".
I love you,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free Therapy

It is good to be you.

About 3 years or so ago my dear friends went to marital counseling. They had been married for about 5 years and needed some maintenance; a 60,000 mile tune-up of sorts. For anonymity I will call them Brew and Frannon.

Hot Jeff and I loved Thursday afternoons when Frannon would call and tell me all about her session with the doc and what her and Brew's homework for the week was. I would relay the information to Hot Jeff and bam, Bob's your uncle we had some free marital counseling. Without the couch. Without the dimmed lighting.

As The Shrink and I were talking today and I was having a big breakthrough (that's shrink talk) I was thinking, "I can't wait to tell the internet about this" I'm under the belief that we could all use a little therapy and that anti-depressants should be added to the water just like fluoride. And as you saw yesterday, when I get really excited about something I just assume you'll be excited too and that it will equally rock your world. Please don't ever tell me different, it will burst my bubble and I already have enough to discuss with The Shrink that I will be in therapy for like the better portion of the REST OF MY LIFE. My co-pay is $31.50 a visit. So I figure if I see The Shrink twice a month for the next 40 years that will be roughly $30,000 in co-pays I will have paid. I would just like to take a minute and thank my Dad for that.

So anyway, back to your free therapy. Turns out I have a low self-esteem. I took a quiz in The Shrink's office (sorta like those teeny-bopper quizzes I took in high school that told me if I should break up with my boyfriend or not but different) and I scored really high in the "Extremely Low Self-Esteem" category. I made myself feel better about his by exclaiming "well at least I got the highest of scores". My Mom said she was surprised at this because I seem confident. I would agree, I am pretty self-assured but apparently things like being a people pleaser, making decisions based on what others will think of me, etc. qualifies you as a person with low self-esteem.

Its important here to interject that your free therapy will, by nature, be a really crappy, watered down version of what I'm getting. Sorry about that. If you would like $30,000 in co-pays over the next 40 years then I'll give you The Shrink's phone number and you can get good therapy. Until then, no complaining on the free-but-kind-of-crappy-therapy you get second hand from me. Ok?

The book The Shrink suggested I begin working through is very cleverly called, Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem. I had it over-nighted to me. It will be here on Wednesday and I firmly expect to be a brand new person by Friday morning.

Oh one more thing: The Shrink thinks my expectations are too high.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Me n' Jesus Time

I want to clarify that as a woman with an English degree it has not been lost on me that the correct grammar is "Jesus n' me" not "Me n' Jesus", however, I like the sounds of the latter better and well you know I've said it before and I'll say it again: its my blog.

So you just never know when the Holy Spirit is going to get a hold of you and whisper and shout and nudge and shake until He gets your attention but yesterday I was in a leadership meeting, not typically known for their change-your-life-application moments but there I sat with an amazing group of ladies eating some sort of insane pumpkin crumb cake piece of heaven when my friend Deb spoke up.

Let me tangent here for a moment on my friend Deb. Deb is 50-somethin' and looks better at 50-somethin' than most of us do at 30-somethin'. She's gorgeous but what really makes her beautiful is that she makes everyone in the room feel like they are her favorite person. I'm not quite sure how she does that but my Uncle Bob could do it too and I'm convinced that those types of people must get a lot of Starbucks gift cards because people just really like them and like how they feel when they are around them and can't help but buy them coffee cards.

Um, ok, where was I? So Deb says to us ladies that her mentor challenged her to be in the Word everyday. And I mean IN IT. Like no messing around but seriously get your butt out of bed early and go get yo' self in the Word because God wants to change your life and He's just waiting for you to get serious about having a quiet time with Him so He can get busy. She talked for about 10 minutes about how her morning quiet times are rocking her world and changing her core and making her love Jesus like she's never loved Him before.

Now let me stop right here for a second. I've been a Christian a long time and I've been listening to other Christians tell me for 21 years that I should get up early and have a quiet time. And no matter how good they made it sound I never was convinced that a morning time was all that different than the bedtime quiet time I was owning. I love sleeping in; I'd sleep until noon everyday if I could. In my perfect world I would stay up really late blogging and writing and then I'd sleep late and get up just in time for lunch. I don't know that I can ever think of a time where my kids haven't been up before me; for over 3 years my kids have been greeted with, "5 more minutes. Just 5 more minutes." Poor little darlings.

So now you can imagine my surprise when I felt the Holy Spirit doing His Holy Spirit thing while I was listening to Deb. THEN, she pulled out the big guns: yep, that's right, a "challenge". As in, "Ladies, I challenge you to carve out some time to have some quiet time with God, away from the busyness of your lives and families. Any time of the day is better than none but there is something really sweet about doing it first thing in the morning". That last part, that first-thing-in-the-morning part? That's where I usually check out but man, she was passionate. I couldn't help but be interested. A little giddy actually.

I came home last night and set out "31 Days of Praise" a book I went through in '06 and LOVED. Its daily readings are short and totally focused on giving God our praise as an act of worship. I love how it shifts the focus from myself to Him. I set my alarm for 6:00 (gasp). I went to bed before 11:00 (gasp, gasp). I was ready.

The alarm went off this morning and I quickly hit the snooze but that's when something CRAZY happened. I didn't go back to sleep. I started praying, as Deb suggested, for God to wake me up. AND HE DID. Here's my favorite part of the story: I went downstairs to find Hot Jeff already showered, dressed and reading the paper with coffee (ugh, I married a morning person) and he looks up and sees me and says, "Are you sick?" Ha!

I realize this is getting long so I'm going to skip some of the details about my morning breath and thread-bare pajamas and skip to the good parts... As Deb suggested, as I settled in with a blanket and coffee I prayed that God would meet me and that our time together would be sweet. I prayed He would protect our time by letting my kids sleep until 6:45ish. I prayed He would keep my mind clear, focused and un-drowzy. Guess what? HE DID! Here's where I get all mushy on was one of the sweetest times with God I can remember. Ever. The house was quiet, it was still dark out, I hadn't yet started to wrestle with kids, laundry, emails, phone calls, etc. It was just amazing.

One of the scriptures I read during my Me n' Jesus time (it was referenced in the reading of the 'Praise' book) was Psalm 23. How many times have we all read Psalm 23? 1 gajillion times, right? Me too but I tell you, my God is soooo cool because this just jumped out and got me, "He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul". Mmm. Good stuff eh? It was like God made Himself really tiny, met me in my living room and wrapped this verse up in a little box with a pretty satin bow. I could almost feel Him in the room, looking at me tenderly with love in His eyes saying, "Thank you for meeting Me here, I know its early but I got you something and I've been waiting until I could give it to you in person".

Maybe you have encounters like that with the God of the universe every day. If so, you're lucky. Its been a while since I have and it CHANGED MY DAY. Not much changes my day. I'm a mom of 2 little ones who like to eat and nap at pretty much the same time every day. I'm in a bit of a rut when it comes to who I see, who I talk to, what I think about, the words that come out of my mouth, the tone of my voice so when something changes my day I take notice.

I don't know why Deb's suggestion was any different than anyone else's in the last 21 years. Maybe its because I sensed she was doing this early morning routine out of relationship and not out of guilt. Maybe its because I'm at a point in my life where I'm desperate and I'll try anything, even something insane like getting up before anyone else. Maybe its because I'm finally realizing the Holy Spirit isn't something to be feared but Someone to be welcomed*.

Whatever. I'm hooked. He leads me by quiet waters, He restores my soul.

*quote from John Stumbo's sermon this weekend

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I gotta be honest, I have about 862,391 things to do tonight before I go to bed. Its 8:20 and my brain absolutely will not work one minute longer (well at least as far as writing is concerned).

One of my favorite things to do is make others do the "work". So here's what we're gonna do: you're gonna write the prayer this week. You're gonna go to the comment section and write a 2 or 3 sentence prayer for your kid and as we all come to this site we'll read the comment and pray for your kid and make it our prayer for ours as well.

If you don't have an account, leave the comment under "Anonymous" but be sure and write your name. Unless you're praying for your kid to stop smacking around a neighbor kid and don't want us to know its your kid; then feel free to keep it anonymous. We'll pray for you just the same.

Don't you just love delegating?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Full Disclosure

Don't you just hate it when I get on a blogging streak like last week and post every day and then I go and pull a stunt like this week and don't post anything for 2 days. I got an email today from a hostile fan saying she was tired of looking at my "green bean friends" and it was time to get a new post up. I can assure you it wasn't Rachel. She has been quite happy being front and center with her green bean stir fry recipe making you all drool.

This post is going to be a little bit of catching you up on a few topics as I don't really have anything else interesting enough to write about.

1) Since writing about Eric the Bastard in this post I have become Facebook friends with him. I know. He's changed his last name since college and when I asked him why he didn't respond. I am convinced he's on the run from the law. Shannon's husband Drew has an old college flame who is now a man. Eric the Bastard being on the run from the law would be awesome but not quite as awesome as if he had become a woman.

2) Speaking of attractive...I had the most steamy dream about Kevin Jonas last night. As in Kevin Jonas from the Jonas Brothers. As in he was born in 1987. As in I think I could be arrested for that. And here's the super weird part of this (well besides the part that I barely know who the Jonas Brothers are yet I'm having sexy dreams about the oldest) I was telling BFF Maryanne about my dream and she was all which-one-is-Kevin so I googled him to show her a picture and we discovered that TODAY IS HIS BIRTHDAY. Is that kinda weird or what? Like do you think Kevin Jonas had an X-rated dream about me last night and has spent his whole birthday searching for me? Do you think he'll be at all disappointed when he locates me only to find out I'm a 33 year old mother of 2 who pees when she coughs? Maybe a little bit.

3) I've started seeing a therapist because of all my Dad issues. I had my first session last Tuesday and yes, she does have a couch. Its not leather like I had pictured it to be; it is instead a floral print that Shannon would have slip covered so fast it would have made the Dr.'s head spin. My favorite part about going to therapy so far is telling people I am going to therapy. It seems like such a trendy thing to do and if I get a little less crazy out of the deal then I will consider it a real win-win. That's a little shrink talk for you: "win-win". No charge. You're welcome. I need to come up with a clever pseudo name for her and will try to do that before I write about her again. I imagine she'll get some good posts and maybe even her own label.

4) Wednesday BFF Kara and I have decided to start trading babysitting on Friday nights so we can have dates with our husbands! It was Kara's idea and back off because she's my Wednesday BFF and I hear her other days are booked. Kara is going to Nevada next week so it probably won't start up for a while. Also, Hot Jeff is taking the first of 4 CPA exams on November 29th so most likely I'll only be sitting instead of dating until December rolls around as Hot Jeff studies ALL THE TIME.

That's about it for now. Well except for this: it is Thursday night and I'm blogging instead of watching good Thursday night TV. And yes, I am bitter. Perhaps I'll talk to the shrink about it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Green Bean Stir-Fry

I'm fairly certain my friend Rachel never thought she would see her picture under the heading "Green Bean Stir-Fry". Sometimes we just never know what is going to make us famous.

This is my friend Rachel Thurman and her husband Glen. And I'll be quite honest with you, I'm not exactly sure Rachel's husband's name is Glen or if he spells it with one N or two because he's a Greek Orthodox minister and always goes by Father Matthew. Don't you love that? It always strikes me funny that Rachel is married to a minister because she's really irreverent (one of my favorite qualities in a person) so I think Glen, or Fr. Matthew, must be a pretty cool guy. I've never met Rachel's husband, as you may have gathered because they live in Ohio. Rachel is a pediatric nurse and gives fabulous advice over Facebook; you should friend her for her really great pediatric medical advice and Mennonite recipes.

Here's a fab picture of Rachel and I being all cute and cheeky in our college days at Montana State. Neither of us can recall what we were doing in this picture but firmly believe that it must have been fabulous since Elvis was involved.

Alas, the Green Bean Stir-Fry recipe. A picture of this recipe on her Facebook page had me drooling for days (her picture was a lot better than mine). With the exception of canned, I've never met a green bean I didn't like however my family would positively sell me to gypsies if I didn't add carrots to the mixture because they aren't nearly as keen on the green bean as I am. I served it over steamed rice and topped it with toasted sesame seeds. It was Awe.Some. Hats of to Rachel for her dee-lish recipe!

Stir Fried Green Beans

Combine in small bowl and set aside:
1 t. salt
2 t. sugar
2 t. corn starch
2 T. soy sauce
1 c. water or soup stock

Heat in a skillet:
2 T cooking oil
Add:1 lb meat (beef or chicken, cut stir-fry style)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. onion, diced
Stir-fry over high heat until beef begins to change color. Remove beef, onions, and garlic from skillet and set aside.

If necessary, add more oil and reheat skillet.
Add:1 lb. long green beans (fresh or frozen works)
Stir until beans become bright green. At once add reserved soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring until clear. Cover skillet and cook over medium heat until beans are just crisp-tender. Return beef to skillet, stir well and remove from heat. Serve with rice (I mix white and brown rice, cooked with stock or with some bouillon added).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Remembering the Marginalized

Last week the kids and I were meeting Shannon and her kids at a McDonalds playland and on our way there we saw a man on the side of the road holding a sign reading he was hungry and homeless. As I was stopped I looked in my purse for a few bucks only to find that I didn't have any cash and as the light turned I realized I could get him lunch at McDonalds and take it back to him.

At McDonalds I asked Shannon if she would watch Samuel and Emily in the playland while I ran the meal to him; it was raining and I didn't want to load them in again. She said no problem but suggested I actually should take them so they could see Christ's love in action. It was a great idea and Samuel was able to fully understand why we were taking that man lunch and asked some really great questions on our way home.

Please don't misunderstand this story; I don't tell it to pat myself on the back but to instead to highlight Shannon's great idea.

The New Testament is filled with exhortations to care for the poor, feed the hungry and love our neighbor and you don't have to read very many of the words in red to know that Jesus' heart was for the marginalized and the forgotten. "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.' (Mark 2:17).

Hebrews 13:3 reminds us, "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." I love Shannon's idea that the earlier we teach our kids lessons of compassion and generosity the more likely they are to practice it later. One thing to do as these winter months are coming upon us is to check with your church or local rescue mission to see if there are age-appropriate ways you and your children can serve the poor and homeless. Can you deliver meals to shut ins? Can you donate toiletries to a mission? Maybe your kids can color pictures to give reminding those people that they matter, someone is praying for them and that Jesus died for them. Make a call--you may be surprised how little time and effort it takes to make an impact on others and your kids.

Lord of love, You sent Your only Son so that we may have hope and I confess I all too often overlook the poor, the lonely and the needy because I am too swept up in my own world. I pray for __________ to have Your heart for the marginalized. I pray You will spring up compassion and mercy in her heart and that she will look at those who are less fortunate around her and want to be kind and generous. I pray _________ will never take her blessings for granted and always know You are the One to whom she owes thanks. Amen.