Monday, September 12, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I'll always remember that Tuesday morning.  Tweenager was just a baby back then ~ and I was still in my first trimester with Bubby.  In the midst of folding laundry and hearing "Sesame Street" in the background, the hubs called and told me that an airplane had flown into the North Tower.  I immediately flipped to the early morning news show, and sat horrified as I witnessed the second plane slam into the South Tower.  Even though they were trying to be professional, the news anchors were visibly shaken as they announced that America was under attack. 

I'll always remember the look on President Bush's face as he was informed of the breaking news.  In recent interviews, he admitted the feeling of rage and sorrow he felt at that moment, and at the same time, trying to keep it neutral so that he wouldn't upset the children surrounding him.

I'll always remember the sight of the buildings crashing down upon themselves, and horrified people running for their lives.  I'll always remember the looks of terror, devastation, and sorrow.  I'll always remember Mayor Giuliani walking around his city, asking people if they were okay.

I'll always remember seeing the Pentagon ~ the symbol of our military might ~ with a smoldering, gaping hole in its side ~ people again, fleeing in terror, running for their lives.

I'll always remember seeing the fiery, charred remains of an airplane in Pennsylvania.

I'll always remember feeling shocked and appalled that this would happen to MY country.  This was the USA.  No one ever messes with us, I reasoned.  What will become of us?  What will happen?  Will there be even more attacks?

Then, in the midst of the darkness, a song.  I'll always remember how Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang "God Bless America". 

I'll always remember President Bush's telling us about the attacks.  The resolute, firm determination in his voice ~ in spite of the tears in his eyes ~ made me proud of my President and my country.

I'll always remember President Bush with the bull horn on Ground Zero saying, "I hear you, the world hears you, and pretty soon the people who did this will be hearing you."

I'll always remember the service where Franklin Graham spoke, reminding us that God didn't just "let" this injustice happen.  It happened because of sin.  All mankind were sinners, needing a Savior.

I'll always remember how fierce and determined the American Spirit was and is.  I'll always remember how we, as a nation, finally seemed to realize that we were, in fact, completely dependent on God.

I'll always remember.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Soothing Saturday

Today has been soothing to me.  Yesterday had been quite an emotional day.  I was missing my dad and had a lot of mental & emotional stress going on that I didn't even realize I had been carrying until I cried for an hour.  Add in monthly hormonal issues, and I was quite the drama queen.  In private, I'm glad to say.  I kept it together in front of the kiddos.

Today I slept in until 9:00.  The kids got their own breakfast of cereal and milk ~ I had insisted on hot breakfasts this week, so they were looking forward to their Honey Bunches of Oats!  Bubby went over to my mom's to pull weeds and help her clean out from under the kitchen sink.  That left the girls and I to spend the late morning/early afternoon together.  Tweenager & I had Kindergartener otherwise occupied as we enjoyed our first mother/daughter movie-bonding experience.  We then invited Kindergartener to come and watch "Bolt" with us.  

Bubby came home.  I took a nice, long nap as the kiddos played outside with their friends.  Got up and made homemade nachos.  Watched a little college football with the hubs.  Kindergartener & I baked chocolate chip cookies.  Cleaned up the kitchen and am now baking muffins for our Sunday School class in the morning.

Just the day I needed.  Thanks, Father. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trying New Recipes

One of my favorite casual dining restaurants is called Mimi's Cafe.  When we lived in Topeka, it was only an hour's drive to go to KC to enjoy this Louisiana-style cafe.  Since I'm a creature of habit, I always order the same thing whenever I go out.

Mimi's has the most amazing French onion soup ~ it's to die for!  (They have the recipe online, so I make it frequently!)  What's best, is that you can get a small cup to go with a half salad.  The best salad is their Chopped Cobb.  They pile a mountain of baby spring mix into a large bowl, and then top it with bacon crumbles, blue cheese nuggets, avocado slices, roasted turkey breast, and hard-boiled eggs in neat, symmetrical little piles on top.

I'm sad that KC is further away, even though we live in the Ozarks.  I had to come up with my own Chopped Cobb!  It was very easy to mimic, but I insist on taking the time to roast up turkey cutlets instead of buying "carving board" style.  It tastes just like deli meat.  I want the real McCoy!

I love blue cheese dressing, but since it has the blue cheese nuggets, I decided to steal the hamburger joint Wendy's idea of an Avocado Ranch that comes with their Cobb salad.

Since the brand was T Marzetti's (LOVE it, btw) I bought the Marzetti's jarred Ranch and pulsed an avocado into it with the blender.  Good, but not great.

Today I decided to make my own Ranch dressing and add avocado to it.  The end result was well worth it!  I can't remember where I first found this recipe (I've had it on file for a LONG time!) but it's awesome!  It tends to be a little thin, but you can thicken it with more mayo or sour cream.
Here it is!

Ranch Dressing

1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
3 T chopped chives
2 T finely minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t  chopped dill
1 t kosher salt
1 t cracked black pepper
1 T white vinegar
1 T garlic paste

(You mince 5 garlic cloves, and then use 1/2 t of kosher salt, smashing them with the flat side of your knife blade until it becomes a paste.) 

Whisk sour cream, mayonnaise and buttermilk together.  Add in herbs, salt, pepper, vinegar, and garlic paste. Add in more mayo or sour cream to thicken.  Season to taste. 

I divided this recipe and dumped half into the blender.  I then added 1/2 of an avocado to the mix and pulsed until it was thickened and creamy.  Delicious!  I'll slice the other half to put on my salad tonight!

NOTE:  5 garlic cloves = TOO strong!  I was tasting garlic all night ~ yuck!  I think 2 or 3 cloves would have worked better.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ministry of Motherhood

I'm impossibly running behind schedule, as usual. I will begin my post for week 4 starting on Monday, June 6th. I love, love, LOVE this study about the importance of administering grace to my children. Just as Jesus gives me grace on almost a minute by minute basis, I must do the same for my children. This study has been very convicting to me!

It's interesting how the Lord works in your life once you're willing and open to His leading. He allows things to shape and mold you. We began a Bible study on Wednesday evenings called "A Journey Worth Planning ~ Raising a Modern Day Joseph".

Our wonderful pastor (who has raised 2 children who know, love, and serve the Lord) is leading this study. I'm excited to glean from God's Word and my pastor's teaching how I can ~ by example ~ train my children to be a man and women after God's heart.

You know, nothing negative is ever mentioned about Joseph in the Bible. Yes, he was young and foolish to tell his already jealous brothers about his dreams, but he was ultimately the epitome of a faithful servant, a man of forgiveness, compassion, and godliness. No wonder he's often depicted as a type of Christ.

I so want that to be said of me ~ and how I wish that for my kids!

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Home ~ My Ministry

TGIF ~ thank goodness it's Friday! Today is the final day of an incredibly busy week. This move has really done me in ~ physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I need to have order in my life, and having things in disarray for almost 3 weeks has gotten me down. Just as I try to organize things and get settled, something else needs to get done ~ laundry, cooking, general housework ~ did I mention laundry? I just couldn't get a handle on things and had fallen way behind. I was miserable!

Wednesday was the hardest. I felt like a complete failure as a wife, mother, and homemaker. My home was disheveled. I was exhausted. I broke down. I cried tears of frustration, anger, regret, and self-pity. Thankfully, my husband was home.

He quietly dismissed the children (who were flabbergasted to see their mommy have a major melt-down) and took me into his arms and let me cry. The solid strength of his chest and comfort of his arms allowed me to collapse into a sobbing mess. He stroked my hair and rubbed my back. He listened to my unintelligible mutterings.

When I was finally spent, he took my face into his hands. Looking deeply into my eyes, he began to compliment me ~ he told me how much he loved me, how much he appreciated the work I had been putting into our home, how lovely things looked that I had finished, and how happy he was that I was his wife. His sweet words uplifted me.

As I reflect back on my husband's love and patience, I can't help but think of Christ. He's waiting for me to bring my many burdens to Him. He knows the groanings of my spirit and wants me to share them with Him. Jesus loves me with an unconditional love. He is happy that I am His Bride. His precious Word uplifts me. And one day soon, He will say to me, "Well done."

Lord, help me to focus my thoughts toward You and to Heaven.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes

Here's the promised recipe, Kaylee!

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake pans.

Prepare the "surprise" filling:

Mix together:
1 8-oz. package softened cream cheese
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 t vanilla

Prepare your favorite chocolate cake recipe, or use a mix. Fill pans with cake batter. Drop a little of surprise filling in batter and sprinkle with a few mini chocolate chips. Bake cake according to directions. Let cool completely, and frost with chocolate frosting.


Since we've moved, I've been unpacking a plethora of boxes! We have boxes of every size, shape, and color. Although I tried to label every box, many got stuff thrown in at the last minute. You know how it is when you move. You start out all organized and label everything carefully, but by the end, you just throw stuff in boxes to get it out of the house and on the truck!

As I look at the 20 boxes that still litter my kitchen floor, bedroom, hallway and entryway, I begin to realize this is a spiritual metaphor.

Although I know what general items are in the boxes, I don't know the contents of each one individually just by looking at the outside. I search the contents and move each box from place to place, distributing the items where they belong ~ either to keep, store, trash, or set back for a garage sale.

We all have issues that burden us ~ hurts we keep in the imaginary boxes of our hearts. No one can tell the contents of our boxes just by looking at the outside. We can choose to distribute our items from place to place ~ keeping them within reach to allow anger or resentment to fester ~ storing them to revisit or to remind others how they've hurt us ~ setting them back to rehash with others. However, with God's help, we can choose to place them at the foot of the cross and let Jesus take them from us. In return, He will give us the grace, strength, and mercy we need to go on.

"Come unto me," Jesus urges. "All ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."