Friday, December 20, 2013

One Year Later

Tomorrow is December 21.  That date will always mark our firstborn's homegoing! Two poems mark a little of how I felt/feel over the past year.  Let's start there!

Little One Loved

Little one loved,
  we wanted you so very much,
even though we never touched
     your tender skin,
     or held your hand.
You were in our hearts,
     little one loved.

Little one loved,
  We never saw your tiny form,
and never held you, small and warm,
     within our arms,
     safe from all harm.
But you were our child, 
     little one loved.

Little one loved,
  but loved by god far more than we,
and so He took you home to be
     with Him to stay.
     You went away
and left us grieving here,  
     little one loved.

Little one loved,
  we wish you could have stayed with us,
but God is asking for our trust.
     Sometimes we cry,
     we question why.
To us, you'll always be 
     our little one loved...

Our little one...
     gone home.

Due Date

My sweet baby,
     it hurts knowing that 
       with the sunset of this day,
     your final chapter of life is written.
This is the day
        you were scheduled to arrive,
     but you came far too soon to stay.

My heart aches
     with the pain of allowing
my baby to become
     nothing more than a memory.
It feels like betrayal 
     to pack up those shattered dreams
and open the new ones
          waiting for us.

Why should my child be forgotten?
        Is not even a sparrow
          due the notice of the Father?
Sweet child, I will always remember
     your short stay with us - 
       as long as I live,
     you will not be one of the forgotten.

Dear God, forgive me.
       I know You hold my baby's soul
     close to Your heart,
          preserved for all eternity.
I just fear the thought 
     of letting go and moving on,
          for it closes the door
       between me and my child. 

I must let go.  I must move on.
     Ahead there awaits
a brand new little life
     and new untarnished dreams.

Know this, Dear One:
       the pain of knowing you will fade,
   but the anticipation of meeting you 
          grows brighter every day.  

Both of these poems are compliments of Stephanie Leinbach from her book "Light my Candle"--a book I shed many tears over as I read through it.

While tomorrow would not have been my due date--it does express the idea of moving on and embracing the next stage of life.

To my own little one:  You will never be forgotten--You will always be my firstborn--whether there ever was a real baby or not--I don't know and never will, but I am comforted by the idea of you being in heaven playing together with all of my friends' babies who have gone before their time to the Other Side and are enjoying being in the presence of Jesus.  I love you my precious child and I look forward to the day that I can meet you face to face.

It's been a hard year--it's been a growing year.  I have much more sympathy for those who lose babies now than I ever did, but I think I have less to say to them now than I ever did.  And for those of you who cared, a deep heartfelt thank you--words could not express how I/we felt.  There were tears--often at the most unexpected times and unplanned for times, but they came regardless.  Grief and pain and tears are no respecter of persons or place--it can come on you with now warning.   Simple words, a newborn baby, the announcement of a pending little arrival--all these things can stir the rivers of grief and tears.  It can be healing though.  For me, I had no idea how much I loved and wanted my little baby until he was taken away.  And now as I look at having a spring baby, I realize how much I simply need to trust and let God be in control.  I can work myself into tears imagining the worst case scenarios. Vivid imaginations and a nursing degree are not very beneficial always to the trust factor.  I must trust------

And now I have made myself vulnerable and open.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Critical Reaction the Second

I felt like it was time to post something other than just book reviews, but now I am not entirely sure what to say.  I thought the title Critical Reaction does elicit an interesting line of thoughts. Does anyone want to say what there first thoughts are when thinking of that combination of words?

Do you zero in on the critical part and think someone is being critical of the reaction of someone else?

Or do you think of the reaction word first and think that the way you respond in the given circumstance is extremely critical?

What kind of reaction do you feel when you hear the following news bulletins?

--30-100% horse meat found in some kind of lasagna that Aldi's sells.  They buy it from someplace in France who was advertising beef and putting horse meat in instead.  Who's gonna know?  It seems the manufacturers might be passing the buck to the stores by saying they were putting pressure on them to lower their prices.

--Parents charged with murder after following Mike and Debbi Pearl's "Train up a Child" book.  Supposedly the girl was found naked out in the back yard, was emaciated and had evidence of having been beaten.  I don't buy much into the Pearl's system of operation, but I believe that has gone a step too far to leave them out in the cold and starve them.  I followed a fascinating facebook post/comments on that this afternoon for awhile and let me just say there were some critical reactions and if you even dared to try and support the Pearl's you were in danger of being badly lashed out at.

--Kulp wins 69th Assembly Republican Primary.  Yes, that is old news--I am actually waiting to see if he won the main election today, but that isn't up yet.  I know there are many and varied opinions on this, but I personally think it would be kind of cool if he won. Someone I sort of know in government.  That isn't going to happen very often.  I don't really know what the 69th Assembly person does, but it sounds important!!!

So that brings me to some questions that can garner critical reactions:  (please tell me what you think)
1. Are there Christian politicians?
2. How long were the days when God created the earth?  24 hour days or longer or shorter?
3. Who wants a foot of snow for Thanksgiving and then another foot every couple of weeks the rest of the winter?
4. Who thinks all medical people are out to get you?
5. Will we recognize our loved ones in heaven?
6. Who thinks black socks are cool?
7. Why do adults wear tights?
8.  And if your church standard says no thin hosiery, should you be wearing tights instead?
9. Why is it called a potluck meal?
10. What should we name our first child?

That's all for now folks.

Critical Reaction

Yes, I know another book review.  This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers for the sole purpose of writing a review about it.

Critical Reaction by Todd Johnson was not a book I would have normally picked up to read.  I picked it because, of course, I didn't want a month to slip by that I didn't try to get a book to review.  If you love mystery and intrigue than you would like this book.

D and I both read it and for a bit on Sunday evening, I was reading it aloud so we could both know what was going on as I had caught up to where he was at.  He then finished the book while I did the responsible thing and went to bed.  I quickly finished it the next morning before going to work.

The plot is based on a nuclear plant in the desert that had an explosion.  One of the guys hurt in the explosion was trying to sue, but it seemed like a lost cause, but of course, throughout the book, they were able to gather enough evidence to win the trial in the end.

One of the things that did impress me about the book was the way that the author was able to weave together multiple characters and keep the story flowing.  He had multiple stories going within the main story and yet I never lost track of what was going on.  That requires some talent.

It was a good book--one that held my attention and made me wonder exactly what was going to happen.  Well, like most fiction books, you already know what is going to happen, but how is the author going to get to the end point is more the question.

I enjoyed the book.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Real by Jamie Snyder

This book was given to me by Bethany House to read and write a review about.

I really did intend to write a few blog posts in between the book reviews, but it hasn't happened.  This book review however will likely reflect a fair amount of the thoughts I have been pondering lately anyway.

This is a book I would highly recommend to everyone.  I feel like I need to flip right back to the front cover and start reading all over again.

The subtitle is "Becoming a 24/7 follower of Jesus" and his all-consuming question throughout the whole book is this: "If Sunday didn't exist, would anyone know you are a follower of Jesus?" Now, I'm going to take a few liberties here to expound on this question in ways that Jamie didn't touch, but I don't think Jamie is Mennonite.  As Mennonite ladies we stand out in the crowd and I am pretty sure that is not the way that Jamie intended.  We look like Mennonites every day of the week, but do we look like Christians?  Do we have love and joy reflected on our faces from what is shining out of our hearts? Or do we just have religion?

Listen to his description on the difference between relationship and religion:  "Religion is defined by rules and regulations, but a relationship is built upon intimacy.  Religion can be scheduled; relationship is spontaneous.  Religion is about measuring up; relationship is about growing deeper.  Religion is man-made; relationship with Jesus is God-ordained.  Religion is predictable; relationship is passionate.  Religion earns the applause of men; a relationship with Jesus results in the applause of heaven."  So my question to you is:  which are you in?

He gives several qualities of a true Christ follower--one who worships every day of the week.  These qualities are a bit radical, but I think every last one is needed in the life of a true Christian and every last one of them touched me and convicted me of areas I need to improve in.

Unbridled generosity:  giving and giving--it's all His anyway.
Daring courage:  are we willing to be like Peter and John and risk imprisonment or worse because of our faith and our teaching.  How do I respond to the unpredictable in life: the lost job, the terminal illness, etc?  "Some people pretend to have courage; others actually do."  Which camp do I fall into?
Rebellious joy: Paul and Silas singing in prison was a complete opposite of what anyone would have expected them to do.  They refused to let their circumstances get them down.  Life can be tough, but if we think of the final result--our end goal--our final reward how can we be anything but joyful?  This is one that really struck me.  I read this chapter a day after hearing a sermon on being joyful in all circumstances and wearing that joy on our faces and I knew I had a job in front of me.  I haven't felt the greatest over the last few months and there have been way too many times where that ill feeling was expressed on my face and in my voice and I don't want to be like that.  I want to have the joy of the Lord even in the midst of feeling like happiness is elusive.
Risky faith:  How much are we willing to give up to follow Jesus?  Do we say we follow Jesus, but make sure that we stay in America in our nice homes and sleep in our comfortable beds and drive our nice SUV's? That is settling for a safe faith.  "My fear is that too many of us have adopted a faith that involves no risk.  Our idea of following Jesus looks more like a safe walk in a park than a dangerous journey through mountainous terrain.  The reality is, when you choose to follow Jesus, when you build your life on your faith in him, you are most likely going to be led to places you would rather not go.  You might be compelled to give more than makes sense.....Following him means a life of loving the unlovable, forgiving the unforgivable, and sometimes doing the undesirable."
Relentless hope: What is my hope in?  Vanity?  Success?  Money?  "Hope is the gentle voice in the depth of our souls that whispers greater things to come--maybe not in this life, but in the life to come."
Scandalous grace: unmerited favor.  We have much to learn in this respect.  I could branch off on my own hobby horse on this, but for right now I will refrain or maybe I won't.  Grace is nothing I can earn, but I think too often in today's churches we take what God has given to us freely and we make others earn it.  People have to earn the right to be a part of our church.  You messed up?  You are going to pay--oh we say we forgive, but before we are going to extend to you grace and allow you to be a part of our church again, you are going to prove yourself.  And then we can't figure out why people walk away.  Look at the story of the time Jesus was at Simon the Pharisee's house for a meal.  Simon was a very religious person and he didn't have the time of day for this lady who came to anoint Jesus' feet.  He was appalled that Jesus would even allow her to touch him--she was supposedly a prostitute.  But Jesus extended grace.  Jesus extended grace to the woman brought to Him caught in the act of adultery (by the way, whatever happened to the man in this story?).  The religious leaders were ready to stone her, but Jesus extended grace and forgiveness.  We tend to draw boundary lines--we will extend grace to these kinds of people, but not to those.  Those people are excluded by God's grace--by whose standard?  Ours, of course, definitely not God's.  Jamie's challenge was to break those boundary lines that you have set up in your mind and go extend grace to that person that you struggle to think worthy.  They are worthy--we are all worthy.
Mad love:  Hosea is a prime example of this--told to go marry the prostitute Gomer and to love her and to redeem her and bring her back from prostitution.  That is the kind of love we are to have.  It's a no-holds-barred kind of love.

I guess you can tell that I really really enjoyed this book--it wasn't exactly a book that you can read and not have it convict you in some point or in many points.  I just wonder if all of us as Christians would take these points seriously--if we would seek to live them out in our own lives, if so many of our troubles would be solved.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

This was not a book I would have necessarily bought but it was given my by Bethany House Publishers to review and I am glad I read it.

The story takes place during the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from Babylon.  The main character is the prophet Zechariah.  The story starts when he is a young boy in Babylon and follows him on his journey to Jerusalem, through his growing up years, becoming a priest and ends with the dedication of the completed temple.

I am not generally a fan of Biblical fiction because I question how accurate it is and obviously we do not know how accurate this book was either, but I do like Lynn Austin as an author and I think she did a very good job of creating a realistic picture of the life as it likely could have been there.  I did do some reading in the Bible myself to see if the story jived, but it wasn't until I finished the book that I saw the list of chapters she used when writing the book.  If I had seen that earlier, I likely would have read them as I read the book to compare.  But from what I read, I thought she did a good job of weaving together a good story.  It makes me want to read the rest of the series to see how she pulls those together.

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a good read with some Biblical basis to it.  Now I am off to start my next free book.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Home for My Heart by Anne Mateer

Okay, here goes.  I don't know that I am the best book reviewer ever, but I do love to read and I do enjoy finding new authors.

I think this was the first book I have ever read by Anne and I think I would read more of her books.  It was a pretty typical Christian romance in which hero and heroine are in love, then have a fallout from irreconcilable differences, and then of course in the end, they both are willing to sacrifice and fall back in love and live happily ever after.

However, I will say that the development of Sadie Sillsby, the main character, was well done.  At the beginning of the book, Sadie was the assistant matron at the Raystown Home.  This was a home for abandoned or orphaned children or as a temporary home for children whose parents were in a financial hardship and couldn't afford to raise their children.  Her dream was to become matron which she does shortly into the book.  But, as it turns out, she really doesn't have the makings of a matron--she has no head for numbers, misses working with the children and makes a poor decision of who to hire for her assistant. Her whole goal for becoming matron was to override her past.  She had been brought to the Home as a little girl; rescued from prison where she had been living with her mother who was in jail for being a prostitute.  She wanted to prove to the world that she could be something regardless of what her mother had been.  She needed to go through being a matron to realize that her worth was not in what she did, but in who she was and in believing in Jesus for her value and not the world's recommendations and standards.

So overall, I did the think the book was well-written.  It was definitely a light and fluffy read, but a good reminder that it is more important to BE who God created us to be, then to DO to please the world and make a good impression.  That is bound for failure eventually.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Miscellaneous Thoughts and a Good Book Suggestion

I just found this post.  It somehow got saved under drafts rather than published, so it's a few weeks outdated. 

This came in the mail this week.  I don't know if you can see it all, but there are four books, a journal, some note cards, a pack of dry-erase markers, shampoo & conditioner, brownie mix, dried apricots, fruit straws, 2 kinds of tea, 3 microfiber sponges, flax seeds, some samples, little note paper, $50 gift card to Red Robin, $5 gift card to Starbucks, instant coffee, ginger-orange marmalade, and a few other things I probably missed.

I won the July Extravaganza Give-Away from .  It feels like such a gift from God--like He knew the odds of me really winning were very small, but He also knew that it would be a big boost to my somewhat stressful week and so He picked me to win.  I really like that thought. It makes God feel like such a personal caring God, which I know He is.

If you are looking for some good summer reading, allow me to recommend A Heart for Freedom by Chai Ling.  It's quite a good book.  She was one of the student leaders during the Tiananmen Square Massacre back in 1989.  I was really clueless about that whole thing until I read this book.  I am not quite finished with it yet (have a couple chapters left), but I have really enjoyed it.  The purpose of the protest by the students was to try and bring about a little democracy.  It was never meant to turn violent and certainly wasn't intended to bring about the massacre that it did.  The students didn't fight back as they left the Square, but the tanks rolled over them anyway.  It tells her story of coming to America, becoming a Christian and then founding an organization to put a stop to the One-child policy and the gendercide prevalent in China and even India and other countries.  It was very eye-opening and very interesting and easy to read.

I'm Back and Rambling like Normal

So once again I am at work and a little bored today.  I am waiting on a baby to arrive and I have to be honest, I wish it would get its act in gear and get with the program.  This is Wednesday after all and is supposed to be my afternoon off.  Last Wednesday I was here for 14 hours instead of 4 and this Wednesday is threatening to be a repeat though not as many hours, hopefully.

Just a few things to keep in mind again when you are having a baby: (by the way, so far we have the model couple here):
- Even if you think you know everything, try not to ask questions in such a way as to make the nurse get her dander up.  She loves to take the time to answer questions, but she does not appreciate feeling on the defensive when the questions are asked in such a way as to make the nurse feel inferior like she may or may not know what is going on.
- If you want a labor coach and you don't know if the nurse will comply, then bring your own.  Don't ask the nurse if she is a good labor coach.  She will be tempted to say: "No, I most certainly am not because she may not feel like rubbing your stomach and speaking kind soft words to you for the next 5 hours straight."
- If other people in the room want to chat, let them.  I know you think you are the only person on the face of the earth right now, but reality is you aren't.  And it most certainly won't hurt you to try to get your mind off of your circumstances and your pain and your problems and listen to some normal conversation.  If it really drives you nuts, then block them out and picture yourself by a lake with a gentle breeze blowing and good book and a glass of wine.  Now, I don't advocate wine, but I think that would be the ticket to fully distract yourself.
- If you want olive oil to be used, bring your own.  The doctor's wife is gracious, but that is asking a lot to ask her to donate from her kitchen supplies for your personal needs.
- If you go against your midwife's advice, then probably don't ask to invite her to your labor.  Likely that is going to cause a little unnecessary tension and puts the nurse in a tough spot to try and gently explain that your midwife is a little territorial and it probably would just be for the best if you don't have your midwife here.

Another thing that is not very nice to ask the nurse:  Don't ask her if she has any children and then when she says no; don't say in a condescending tone of voice, "But you have been married for awhile haven't you?"  These things are personal and not to be discussed with patients.  Yes, I know you are now wondering and likely assuming that maybe the nurse can't have children or doesn't want them (Shame Shame).  Hopefully, you won't your own conclusions and spread them as fact.  That's the best I can hope for I guess.

On a totally different note, I love free things and one way I can get free books is by reading books and then blogging about my thoughts on them.  So you will need to bear with me as I blog a few posts about books I read.  The first book will be "A Home of Her Own" by Anne Mateer.  I think all that information is right.  I should be finished with it before too long.  It was a decent book in the way of fiction books.  I like fiction books-I will unashamedly say that.

Well, I shall move on now.  To what?  I am not certain.

Friday, September 20, 2013

More Doctor's office thoughts

I'm in the mood to blog right now--unfortunately I am at work as well.  This may be a little mod-podged as I move from patient to blog and back to patient, but this way, I likely will not forget what it is I want to blog about.

Okay too busy, scratch that.  Catch up with everyone later. SORRY!!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Simple Etiquette and Stinky Feet

I haven't done a To Do or Not to Do List for awhile so I think I will list a couple of things that come to my mind today.
1.  It is fine to ask to use the phone; however discussing your financial situation in the waiting room is probably a bit too much.  But discussing it on the phone in an exam room when the nurse or doctor are trying to do their job is also a bit annoying; but beings you weren't the patient, I have some patience with you.  I also do understand your desire not to get your bill turned over to the collection agency because yes, that is very unfortunate.
2.  If you are crossing your legs with your one very stinky, decaying foot facing the drawer the nurse is trying to get in, please move.  Move farther than 2 inches too.  Because the nurse is trying to grab her gloves and grab them quickly and they happen to be at the back of the drawer and a little stubborn.  But if you want to, move 2 inches, watch while the nurse struggles to grab her gloves and then say innocently:  "Am I in your way?"
3. Please wash your arm before coming to the doctor's office.  Maybe it doesn't bother you that the nurse has to use 2 alcohol wipes are your arm before she is comfortable poking you with a needle.  And maybe it doesn't bother you that there is a very noticeable spot  that is clean where the nurse wiped with the aforementioned alcohol wipes.  If it doesn't bother you; that's great--I believe I would be mortified.  Maybe I should learn a lesson from you.

Well, those are the things that come to my mind right now and since I don't know when any of you may be going to the doctor next, I wanted to get it out there quick and let you know what you should and shouldn't do.

Thanks for your consideration in this matter.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lamentations 3

I'm reading a book right now called: Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage just isn't Good Enough by Justin and Trisha Davis.  It's a very good book and one I would recommend.  They tell the story of their journey from an ordinary marriage to a bad marriage to an affair and back beyond ordinary to an extraordinary marriage.  It's a challenge to me to keep the communication lines open between D and me and to first and foremost have a close relationship with God depending on Him to meet all my needs.

Last night I was reading the chapter called Beyond Ordinary Healing and it was their journey through counseling and relearning the ropes of marriage and most of all looking to God and being willing to have themselves destroyed so they could be rebuilt into the people God meant them to be.  One of their friends told them he was praying Lamentations 3 over them; particularly verse 16.  Now what does verse 16 say?  "He has made me grind my teeth on gravel.  He has rolled me in the dust." NLT  Not a particularly nice, cozy, and loving verse.  But the point was: this friend was praying for God to break them so they would be molded in His image.

So this morning I had to read Lamentations 3.  It's got some good stuff in there.  Listen:

"He shot his arrows deep into my heart.  My own people laugh at me.  All day long they sing their mocking songs.  He has filled me with bitterness.  He has given me a cup of deep sorrow to drink.  He has made me grind my teeth on gravel.  He has rolled me in the dust.  Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is.  I cry out, 'My splendor is gone!  Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!'  The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.  I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss." (vs 13-20 NLT)

Sounds perfectly awful, but listen even more closely:


The unfailing love of the Lord never ends!  By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day.  I say to myself. 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefor, I will hope in him!'  The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.  So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.  And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of his discipline. Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord's demands.  Let them lie face down in the dust; then at last there is hope for them.  Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them.  let them accept the insults of the their enemies.  For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever.  though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love.  For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow." (21-33 NLT)

I hope these verses can soak into your soul and encourage you when it feels like your teeth are being broken in the gravel and life is a struggle.  They encourage me and challenge me to allow God to do His work in my life so I can come forth believing in His mercies and grace.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Recipes and Daily Planners

I love organization!!!  That is not to say I am organized, but I like the idea of organization.  For instance, at work, the little plastic blood tubes need to be lined up neatly in the little box where they belong.  Please do not just randomly toss them in there.  Yes, the one box is currently a conglomeration of tossed plastic tubes, but I didn't do it and I didn't take the time to correct the problem today.  But it bothered me pretty much. every. time. I. opened. the. drawer. to get out another tube.

Nothing makes me happier than to have a daily planner.  I had been without one for months on end; I just decided it wasn't necessary nor could I really find one I liked.  Finally, this week, I sat down and printed off a few different kinds and decided to try them out to see what I liked best.  And yes, I think I have found a winner.  Does this make me organized?  No, it most certainly does NOT, but I get a thrill of being able to take the pen and "cha-ching" another item off the list.  And no, I don't like computer planners because I can't use a pen on them and they are not so user-friendly as a good old piece of paper and a pen.  Maybe that is "so last year", but I don't care a bit.  So now I have this planner on which I have created a daily to-do list.  Now, I think I can accomplish more in a day than I actually do.  This is either because I am not as motivated as I think I am, other things come up, to-do projects take longer than expected, or I just miserably slept in and got nothing done in the morning before work.  (That was the case the morning after the last post.  Waking up at 7:44 and needing to leave the house no later than 8:05 doesn't leave much room for to-do lists)

But I still like my lists, though I need to remind myself not to pack them so tightly because I can also become discouraged when I don't get all the to-do's done.  But tonight, I simply didn't care what was on my to-do list.  Yes, I was supposed to walk (because this morning when I really AM supposed to walk, it was dumping buckets of rain--yep, pretty much literally too), but I didn't care.  I have just sat here on my couch all by my lonesome and deedled away the hours doing nothing that was on my to-do list.  Oh wait, I did iron some quilt blocks which was sort of on the to-do list, but not fully.

I worked on summer recipes.  What is that, you may ask?  Well, here's the deal:  I love cookbooks of pretty much every shape and size.  I could say that I haven't met a cookbook I didn't like, but that wouldn't be true because there are a few I don't like, but they are few and far between.  So I cook a lot of new food and not the same food too many times in a row (actually pretty much never in a row unless it's leftovers).  While I am looking through these cookbooks I find all these good recipes that take things like fresh tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, summer squash, etc. etc.  Well, in the winter, I pretty much deem all these things too expensive to buy (except maybe lettuce and the occasional tomatoes), so I think how I will make them come summer.  You get where this is going right?

Summer comes got it.  I can't remember where the recipes were and suddenly I am overloaded with zucchini and cucumbers and green beans and corn and etc.  What happens?  Some of it goes to waste because I can't think how to use it and the rest?  We eat the same kind of thing over and over and over.  D loves his zucchini sandwiches and in the summer we probably eat them several times a week, but that still doesn't take care of the boatload of zucchini.  I have discovered I can freeze zucchini bread just like my mom did at home and then three years later I can pitch said zucchini bread because we simply don't eat it, so that is a waste.  Hence:  SUMMER RECIPES.  I am currently going through my Reiman Publications and pulling out the recipes that take all these good fresh summer veggies and put them into yummy looking foods.  Now hopefully, this summer it will not be: what am I going to do with all this zucchini, but which recipe should I make tonight.  A girl can dream, right?  This is what I hope will happen anyway.

With recipes like Grilled Corn on the Cob, Herbed Tomatoes and Green Beans, Eggplant Parmigiana (esp. since I didn't even plant eggplant this year), Zucchini Mozzarella Medley and Pear Pandowdy, how can you go wrong?  So I currently have about 44 recipes and am continuing to plow through my magazines in search of recipes that I would actually make.  Now, I will grant that some of the ones I am putting in my little summer menus cookbook might be a bit of a stretch, but I like to try new things because one never knows what good things one can discover.

And...if the 26 plants of cauliflower and the 25 heads of cabbage actually amount to that much I am going to need a lot more recipes than what I currently have or maybe even own.

Well, the D man got home earlier than expected and a campfire is calling my name--just what my plan was for the evening.  Next time, I will maybe think about communicating my wishes a little earlier so that I don't have to throw a fit when he makes his own plans.  I don't really think I threw a fit, but I was a little upset--I have to be honest.  On the other hand, I wasn't too disappointed to just sit at home and be lazy all by myself either.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On writing

The big question here is: can I write?  I like to write, but that means nothing to nobody.  Anybody that can string two words together can write, but not everybody will write something that is thought-provoking, stirring, inspiration, laugh-out-loud funny, or motivational or any combination of the above.

I just read a good book called "Sparkly Green Earrings" by Melanie Shankle.  It was a free ebook, which is all the rage in my life right now.  (Yes, me, who said that Kindle was so lame and I just want to hold a book in my hands, thank you very much.  But hey, I still like books because their batteries never run low; but Kindle books can always be read in the dark, so there are pros and cons to both side)  Now, where were we?  Anyway, this Melanie Shankle, she can write.  She writes about the first 8 years being a mom and while I can't relate to the stories, I find them very humorous.

That brings me to the next topic: reading to earn books.  Tyndale has a summer reading program where if you read books off of their summer 2013 list and write a few reviews on them, you earn points.  You earn 5 points, you get a free book.  Not bad, huh?  The one problem is our local library doesn't carry a lot of these books, but hey amazon has a few of them for free at times!!!  I love books and am always happy to get a free one.  Partly because of this, I learned about a new author as well: Chris Fabry.  While I am not through the book yet, I have really enjoyed it.

That could bring me to the next topic: how strict should you be on your reading material?  Should you only read CLP, Rod and Staff and Pathway publishers?  Is it okay to branch out and see what is out there?  There was a topic on this the other evening at our church and since I know that there are some people from church that read this blog, I will be careful what I say.  I will say this though: there were some good points made.  I sometimes wonder though, on evenings like this--do people actually live that out in a day-to-day life or is there reading material more stringent all of a sudden when there is a topic with open discussion.  Now, I am not accusing anyone that made comments that night--I am asking this as an open-ended question for where ever the subject of reading material is raised.  I know for myself, if I had been asked about reading material that night, I probably would have advocated the good, inspirational books I read, but soft-pedaled the fiction kind.

So what books have you read in the last while?  What books are you reading now?  Truthfully, I am not always proud of my reading material; I am trying to be careful--just because I can get it for free doesn't mean I should.  But I like to think I am pretty open on reading options and I am trying to become a fan of more biography, deep-thinking, educational reading material.

Now, I've sort of lost my way here on the writing issue that I started with, but that's okay.  I think for me, I just need to write.  Whatever comes to mind and hopefully, with time, I will become better and better at it.

But that is it for now: maybe next time I can talk about the joys of camping, cutting quilts, having a daily planner, family time or any other subject that comes up.  In the mean time, I will stay up at least until 1:00 in the morning and help to usher in a new little life into the world.  That could be a whole other blog post in and of itself.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

SPRING IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Perennials are peeping through

The Lilacs are budding

There's some green grass coming through the dead stuff.

The sky is an awesome color of blue.  Just awesome!!!!!!!!!
It's been way too long since we had blue sky, so it's a double awesomeness.

It's the season for iced coffee!!!!!!!  Yes, I just got a new camera and am
determined to learn how to operate it more than just auto mode.  And Yes, I 
know I have a LONG ways to go before any professionalism emerges.

It's been spring in the house for awhile already as my geranium bloomed most of the winter. 

It's the season for flip flops.  


Just more awesome blue sky

Meet Gomez--the only male and the only sold puppy

Friday, April 5, 2013

Joy and Sorrow Meet Together

How can life be so full of joy and so bound by sorrow?  The sorrow presses down and threatens to overwhelm and the joy lifts up and causes the step to be a little lighter.  Why can't all the steps be light, fluffy, joyful steps?  I know, I know; then we wouldn't grow, but the pain, the pain, it can be so painful, so tough, so depressing.

The couple who looks forward to their baby only to find out halfway through that life has fled.  Yes, they know that the little one is in a better place, but still they grieve.  Tears threaten as I touch the little cold body, but joy can fill the heart when you think about the little girl in heaven with Jesus maybe playing with her uncle who went to heaven many years ago.

There it is: that oxymoron of grief and joy.  Somedays, you plow through life, living in joy and then something happens and you are reminded of your loss.  And yet, while you are thinking of your loss, you are thinking of heaven's gain.  When I think of all the little babies playing together in heaven, it can make a person jealous of all that quality time with good friends.

How do you balance the two?  Or can you even balance them?  Can you make sense of the grief that reduces you to tears over nothing?  How many Sunday mornings have the tears threatened during the singing?  You are fine during the week, but the weekend, oh the weekend can be so hard.  I think there has to be some happy times in the midst of grief or you would become bogged down and depressed.

And yes, I realize this is a depressing post--it's just some thoughts I have right now as I wait for the driver to pick up this couple and take them home where life is going to slap them in the face.  I can understand the denial, the non-processing--there is the grief, but I don't think it has hit home yet.  I don't think they have fully processed what they have lost.  That will come and then more tears will flow.

And yes, I just want to go home and forget.  I want to go home and party; because right now I don't want to process.  I don't want to think about grief and sadness and tears.  I don't want to evaluate what happened here today; I just want to avoid the tears and sadness.

Call me heartless; call me whatever you want.  I don't care.  Everyone grieves in their own way.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A New Job Description

I have changed jobs apparently.  I don't know how it happened or what caused it.  I'm not even sure if it is exciting even.  It was definitely unintentional.

Last week, we had a couple there to have a baby---uneducated would be a nice description for them.  No classes, no clue.  The grandma was along and she wasn't much better for knowledge.  It could have been a frustrating or a humorous day.  I chose to make it humorous.

Questions like: is the cord around the neck--is that what is keeping the baby from being born?  Can't you just pull the baby out?

Google-eyed staring with a rather shell shocked look for a lot of the time by the new dad.  I really felt somewhat sorry for them because I think they were completely unprepared for the dramatic arrival of their little boy.  I have a feeling their plan was to show up at midnight like they did and have the baby about an hour or two later with minimal pain and discomfort.   The grandma remained somewhat convinced that surgery might be needed to deliver this child because that is the way their people often do--that was a new one for me.  (I think it may be because when they do go to the hospital it can be pretty serious, though this lady had had a couple of hospital deliveries with no surgery, but she had also had surgery)  They brought no food for their 17 hour stay.

Anyway, finally about 15 minutes before they were to leave, we discovered that they really hadn't gotten a driver like they had been told to, so I got on the job to find them a ride home.  Giving them a number of a lady who does some driving, he called her, but then he told her that he needed to ask the "waitress" a question.  He wanted to know how many people would be going home.  Umm, excuse me?  How many did you bring with you?  That same number plus your baby, who had no car seat by the way.

So I'm a waitress, huh?  Maybe instead of delivering food, I help deliver babies.  Rather than cleaning up food messes, I clean up bloody messes; in exchange for tips, I take thank yous. (There have also been the rare, but much appreciated money and chocolate tips as well).  I suppose that is a fair trade.  I will continue to be the best "waitress" I know how to the people I meet every day.

In some ways, this would seem like an easier job description--I think of a waitress as someone who sees someone for just a couple minutes and then moves on; I think of a nurse as someone who is there to give to those that are hurting.  Now, if there are any waitresses reading this--I do not intend for a minute to degrade your job or imply that you never touch a life--I am sure you do; possibly even without realizing it.  But for the purpose of my illustration just bear with me.  When life seems more than I can handle, let me just be a waitress with minimal contact with my customers.  Somedays I feel capable of pouring my life out into others, but there are days when making it through the day is about all I can do and needy people stretch and tug and pull me out of proportion.  God's strength is what enables me to make it through the day.  Let me rest on Him and allow Him to be my Great God of all Comfort.

Big Trucks Getting the Job Done Together, Illustrated by Sergio De Giorgi

A dozer, a digger, a crane and a dump truck work together to get the job done. Written in rhyme, it reminds me a bit of the book "L...