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Wherein I Solve the Mystery of Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Until this afternoon, I had never ridden a scooter.

When I first stepped on I was shocked at how easy it wasn't. Well, I guess I should say it wasn't as easy as I had always assumed it was.

I got the hang of it pretty quickly though and before long I was flying down hills...announcing my joy to the world with shrieks of laughter.

It was all fun and games.

Until I realized that I didn't know where the brake was.

I desperately searched for the brake while still attempting to keep my balance, until the scooter went one way and I went the other.

For a split second, I was completely air born.

As I flew threw the air I caught a glimpse of a middle aged man passing by...staring...laughing. And he may or may not have been holding a camera.

And then I hit the ground, realized I wasn't hurt and Nathaniel revoked my scooter riding privileges.

And this, my friends, is why we can't have nice things.

The End.

Thirteen Essential Kitchen Tools for Starter Cooks

As a young person, in charge of my own kitchen, I was overwhelmed by all of the kitchen gadgets out there. It's kind of hard to know what is actually helpful and what just ends up taking up space.

There are a few things to take into consideration when registering or just deciding what you need in your kitchen:

1.  How much space do you have? Do you have a lot of storage space, or just a little?

2.  How much cooking experience do you have? If you've never cooked in your life, the basics will get you started and as you become more experienced you can collect more specialized items.

3.  What will be practical? If you're moving into a one bedroom apartment, it might be kind of silly to register for 12 place settings of china. Maybe one or two would be more practical (I think it would be fun to get two place settings at the beginning and add to it on each anniversary...you could even pick a new pattern each time!). Or maybe you have absolutely no use or desire for fine china!

O…

Beginner Cooking Know-How

I say "Beginner" because I'm barely even qualified to teach a beginner and most of these are obvious to seasoned cooks.

Okay, so to be honest I'm pretty sure my mom and Grandma tried to teach me all of these things. But for some reason I didn't listen and ended up having to learn the hard way.

1.  Read. the. entire. recipe. before you start. Okay, so a lot of recipes rely on the chemical reactions of the ingredients to produce the desired end result. Sometimes that means letting something sit overnight or doing things in a certain order. If you don't read the entire recipe you may find yourself in a bind and unable to complete the recipe or complete it incorrectly and getting a less than desirable result.

2.  Get out all of your ingredients before you start. Or at least make sure you have them all. I do like to get them all out in the beginning though. If the recipe contains different sections you can get your ingredients out in sections. But put them away as…

He Called Me Anyway

As much of a miracle as it is that Michael and I have survived the events since our marriage, it's even MORE of  a miracle that we ended up together at all.

Cause see, I broke up with him 7 times.

Yes, you read that correctly. Seven. Times.

Every time he would brokenheartedly want to know why and sometimes it wouldn't even last until the end of the phone call. But yes, seven times. And I'm not sure that we even counted the 'break-ups' that only lasted ten minutes. So it could technically be more than that. But let's not split any hairs.

We never fought, it wasn't that we broke up in the heat of an argument...I honestly just wanted him to marry me and it seemed like he was NEVER going to...so I broke up with him.

The funny part of all of this is that he's since told me that every time he started saving for an engagement ring, I broke up with him so he'd go and spend whatever he'd saved.


Have I mentioned how flaky I can be? I'm working on it!

If I Knew I Couldn't Fail

A few sessions back my life coach asked me, "if you knew you couldn't fail, what would you do?" Of course, she was asking in a short term, what-would-I-do-in-the-next-week kind of way but it got me thinking in a more wild, willy nilly way about what I would do. So here's my list...I'll not pretend it's exhaustive but these are things I have a desire to do...some are fairly realistic and some are things I know will probably never happen. Without further adieu....

1.  Write a cookbook. The thought of spending hours and hours and hours creating, testing and compiling recipes in book form is enthralling to me.

2.  Cook Sunday dinner every Sunday and invite tons of random people without regard to their economic status or level of cleanliness.

3.  Run a marathon.

4.  Write a regular book. I have no idea what I would write about or anything...I think it would just be fun to write!

5.  Rent a beach house and invite some girlfriends to spend a weekend with me...pay fo…

Betty Crocker's Ugly Step Sister

I admit it. If Betty Crocker were a real person and she had an ugly step sister, I'm pretty sure it would be me.

She'd be her lovely self creating beautiful culinary wonders in the kitchen...she'd never have flour on her face, dress or in her hair.

And then there'd be me, looking over her shoulder in a cloud of flour...hair a mess and streaked with flour...trying to learn her secrets...and failing miserably!

Last week I made my first successful batch of from-scratch biscuits. After two other attempts I finally got it right. They were light and fluffy and delicious. Of course, now I'll have to remember how I did it...which is just as likely as it was that I'd create something edible in the first place!

Of course, if I'd just followed a recipe in the first place I probably could have gotten it right the first time...but when I do that I feel like I've cheated and am a fraud for accepting compliments.

I love understanding the 'why' behind a recip…

Setbacks

Last week when I walked into my Weight Watcher's meeting, I knew it was going to be bad. I had forgotten to take my thyroid meds for several days in a row. So not only was my metabolism messed up, I was an emotional wreck.

After several setbacks, an unhealthy and heaping dose of beating myself up for my lack of self control, I gave up.

I stopped trying.

I didn't track or even try to control myself. I even decided to put off going to a meeting. I made myself a completely unreasonable diet and exercise plan and decided to go to a meeting later in the week.

I went to bed on Monday night planning to NOT go to my meeting.

Well, I guess at some point in the night my subconscious convinced my conscious of how ridiculous all of this was. I startled awake on Tuesday morning, jumped up out of bed, got dressed and went to my meeting.

I'd love to be able to tell you that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But it was. It was every bit as bad as I was afraid it might be. I g…

What I'm Learning About Listening

Part of being a good friend, or a safe person, is being a good listener. So as part of my desire to be a good friend and a compassionate person, I am working on being a good listener.

Listening is so much more involved than just standing in someone's vicinity while they speak. It starts way before the conversation. It starts in my heart.

Because listening, really listening requires selflessness. It requires me setting myself and my own thoughts aside and really hearing what the speaker is trying to say without my own judgements and suppositions. It is impossible to really listen and hear what someone is saying if I am inserting my own assumptions and judgements into what they are saying. Instead of hearing what they're saying I'm hearing what I think they are saying. And that's not really hearing them at all.

So here's what I'm learning about listening...

1.) Really listen. Look the speaker in the eye. It really is important. It lets them know that my focus is…

This, or Something Better?

I guess I've mentioned before that I've been on a big fat plateau for like 9 months now.

Not because the plan doesn't work. And when I say "the plan" I mean eat healthy in general and exercising.

The plateau is partly a result of my wacky thyroid, and partly me allowing the hard moments to steer me off course.

So I've been working with an awesome and very talented life coach to get me back on track. And let me tell you, yesterdays session was A. MAZING! She did this little exercise to help me figure out what my top 5 reasons for wanting to get to my goal weight are. When we finished she repeated it all back to me like I was saying it to myself and had me in a puddle of tears.

After the call she sent me an email that she's asked me to post all over my "world". On the fridge, on the pantry doors, on the bathroom mirror, in the car...everywhere to remind myself of what I'm doing. And at the end she included a little phrase to help me put it all…

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

♫♪I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like♫♪
So to save us some dough...I've been riding my bike around town to perform various errands and tasks that can be done within a reasonable distance.
For most of my errands I have two route options. The first contains a fairly steep hill. The second is completely flat but out of the way. 
So typically I talk myself into taking the hill route. I think about the extra effort I'll have to put into biking up the hill and the extra calories I can burn in the process. 
So as I bike on my merry little way, I anticipate the hill. I pedal faster and get a good pace going so that when I hit the hill I'll have a good head start so the hill won't be so much work.
But the thing is, no matter how fast I pedal in anticipation of the hill, about halfway up the hill it gets hard. Every revolution of my tires is a chore. The muscles in my legs start burning like crazy and it t…

Holding Back the Floodwaters

I am always intrigued by other peoples homes. Seeing or being inside someone else's home is like a little glimpse into their souls. You can learn a lot about people just by being inside their home.

It's difficult for me not to get caught up in comparison. Not because I'm jealous of their material possessions, but because I feel so behind.

Yes, when you come into my home you can learn a lot about me, but what you learn about me is not what I want to be true.

It's like when you're paying off debt. You may no longer be that irresponsible person who created those debts, but you still have to pay them. And sometimes it feels defeating.

Our living room is half painted, the bathroom is covered in a variety of paint colors because my daughter thought the bathroom should give a preview of the paint colors in all the other rooms. I feel like my housekeeping efforts are like a rickety dam with a crack in it, barely holding back the flood waters.

If you stop by my house unanno…

Exhibit A

Being the mom of five wild indians makes my life interesting.

Exhibit A:

Yesterday I loaded them all into our Wild Indian Wagon and stopped to get gas.

Okay, so apparently our local fillin' station has had problems with people leaving the pump nozzles clicked down and spilling gas everywhere so they took the little whatchamacallits that hold the trigger on the nozzle down off. And a 47 gallon tank  takes a while to fill when you've run the tank purty near empty.

Meanwhile...back at the ranch...err...back inside the Wild Indian Wagon...my very wild Wild Indians decided to reenact Custer's Last Stand...on a very small scale since I'm pretty sure Custer and the Native Americans had a much larger space to battle it out in than the backseat of a Suburban.

I'm pretty sure you couldn't get hydraulics to make that thang move in the way it was moving. For reals...you know in cartoons when a group of kids gets into a fight and all you see is a cloud? There's a reaso…

Something Worth Fighting For

Confession: I'm a drama queen.

So Michael works full time and goes to school full time. And he's a music major...and if you don't know why that would make matters different, bless you!

Anyway, so I really only see him in passing from Tuesday morning until Sunday (he literally comes in, showers, changes clothes and leaves again).

Thursdays are particularly lonely for me and I always think of this line from Cold Mountain, "If you are fighting, stop fighting. If you are marching, stop marching. Come back to me. Come back to me is my request." I am particularly awful at accents of any sort so even though I say it in my best southern belle accent...I'll spare you.

And then I imagine myself as a delicate southern belle (even though in real life I'd be more suited for the role of Ruby Thewes) at home keeping house, waiting for my soldier who's off fighting some heroic battle. I imagine him reading those words and  walking on beaches and over mountains, eatin…

Stepping Out in Real Life

I did something a little bit crazy today.

For the past three years my kids and I have spotted the most interesting sight around our town.

A man. Riding a unicycle. And while a man riding a unicycle is quite common and very ordinary at the circus...it's rather exciting and extraordinary on an ordinary day, in an ordinary town, on an ordinary street.


The first time we saw him, his unicycle was about bicycle height off the ground, and over the last three years we've watched him rise higher and higher.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I would love to talk to this man. Unfortunately, I had no idea who he was and couldn't find anyone who DID. So I concluded that I'd have to catch him when he wasn't posed on top of a unicycle (ya know, cause I don't want to kill the man to ask him his name) to talk to him.

**:) I apologize for my ignorance, I have since learned that it is possible and even not that hard to talk to someone while (uni)cycling. In fact, I found a video of…

Use What You've Got, Do What You Love and Learn As You Go!

So guess what?!

I'm pretty sure that every. single. person. reading this can probably write a better blog than me. I'm pretty sure that most of you probably read through my blogs and mentally point out the bazillion grammatical errors that I make in every post.


In every single thing that I do, I know for a fact that there are a bazillion people on Earth that can do it better than me.

And I'll tell you what, that used to (and sometimes still does) stop me from doing them.


But here's the dill, pickles.  Doing things I love to do, even if I'm not very good at them will typically lead to good things (as long as it's all for God's glory because doing drugs...is not a good thing...but I'm pretty sure you knew what I meant).
 First of all...like the old saying goes...practice makes perfect. Not that I will ever be perfect at anything, but I learn from experience. Even if I do whatever it is wrong, I have a better idea of how too do it right. And that's def…

Attitude Wrinkles

Remember when you were  kid and you had contorted your face into some silly visual concoction and, invariably, an adult said something like...”you better watch out, your face might stick like that”?

That saying came to mind recently as I was pondering how some people seem to be smiling even when they’re not...and others seem to be hiding a frown...even when they’re smiling.

It occurred to me how profoundly that warning applies to my attitude and general approach to life.

“If my attitude, in this moment, got stuck like this...what would life be like?” I’ll tell you that a lot of times the future would not look very bright!

A moment of negativity doesn’t mean I’m a negative person...but moments add up. When it all adds up, what kind of person am I? Am I encouraging others and spurring them on to love and good works? Or am I draining the life out of them?

“You better watch out, your attitude might get stuck like that!”

What goals have you set this week? And what one thing are yo…

Who Am I?

When I first began losing weight, I didn't know anyone who had lost the amount of weight I needed to lose, and kept it off.  I scoured the internet and searched Weight Watchers success stories and very few people had lost the amount of weight I needed to lose successfully, and even fewer had kept it off. Even some of the people who won The Biggest Loser had gained all of their weight back!


It seemed impossible that I could be the one.  I mean, if all of these wonderful people hadn't done it, who did I think I was even TRYING to do it?!

So I approached it all with a wary eye. I told myself that I didn't know how far I would make it, but that I was too desperate not to try.

So I took it one day at a time, and the weight began to come off.

Today, I'm down 145 pounds and I have 30 more pounds to go.

After two years and a seven month plateau...I still don't know how far I'm going to make it.

What I do know is that I can "run" a whole lot better without th…

God is Bigger than the Boogie Man...and Chocolate Cake

I ran for the first time in a while today. Honestly, I'm not even sure when the last time I ran was. I think it may have been sometime in February.

I'm not saying I've been sedentary...I've done a lot of bike riding and walking...I just haven't ran.

But today I NEEDED to run.

I was having a moment. Actually, I was having several moments right after I ate a large piece of chocolate cake. I was having a moment where I couldn't see the victory at the end of the struggle...where that big ol' piece of cake was kicking my "can-do-attitude" in the boo-tay.

So I put my running clothes on and headed out the door.

The thing is, running is against my nature. It requires a level of faithfulness that I find difficult, sometimes, to muster. It means bounding from one foot to the other...repeatedly...for long periods of time. Which, for an overweight female, can be kind of painful.

But sometimes it's necessary to do hard things, because it's the hard t…

Bon Voyage!

So, I gained today. Three. Pounds.

I have to say it is hard to accept. And typically, I scour the past week for what I did wrong. And that's a good thing.

But today, I feel tired. Because after 7 months of doing that and working constantly and then being disappointed, I'm tired.

And so, for this week, I'm taking a break.

Yeah, I'm sure that if I look back I'll find something I could have/should have done differently (although I feel sure NOT three pounds worth). But I just need a break. I need to focus on other things. Because really, this weight loss thing is just a means to an end. 

So this week, I'm not going to focus on losing weight, I'm not going to agonize over my gain and what I need to learn to improve my success this week. I'm going to rest.

I'm going to focus on Jesus and being a mom, a wife, a homemaker, a servant and friend.

Am I going to count points? Yes. Am I going to be active? Yes.

Honestly, my week might not look much different …

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

In my heart, I am an entrepreneur. In my head, I'm an entrepreneur.

When Michael and I were dating we spent hours thinking about how we would love to own a music/book store where half of the store is a shop where Michael spends his days as a luthier...crafting and creating world renowned guitars while visiting with customers and sharing his craft with passersby.

To this day I have a dream of opening a "fruit stand"/bakery where people come for in season fruits, veggies, jams, jellies, various baked goods, comfort, encouragement and love.

I also dream of writing books that encourage and spur people on to love and good works...of speaking to groups of women who need encouragement. Of loving people through the written and spoken word.

I don't know if I will ever really be successful at any of these things. Because I'm learning that God has a plan, and that ultimately, my dream is to be an instrument for His glory.

But I'm also learning that sometimes you have …

"The Common Cold of the Soul"

"To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gives that never get cultivated and deployed--
Until weeks become months
And months turn into years,
And one day you're looking back on a life of
Deep, intimate, gut-wrenchingly, honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered
Lives you never touched,
And you're sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself--
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat."
--Gregg Levoy

"A year from now you'll wish you had started today"--I have no idea who originally said this except that it was not me!

So what's it gonna be?! Get up and do something and risk failure and …

Trying Something New

Sometimes I feel stuck. And sometimes it's necessary to look at what's working and what's not and make the changes to remove the obstacles in the way of growth.

Sometimes it's not that what I'm currently doing is not working, maybe I'm just bored or uninspired.

Every once in a while it's just time to try something new. Even if I fail or don't do well, I learn something new. Usually that I need to learn or practice more.

So far this year I haven't made as much progress on my goals for the year as I would have hoped. So I'm going to try something new.

1.  I'm going to spend a few minutes in the evening assessing the day and planning for the next day.

2.  I'm going to share with you how the day went and what my goals for the next day are and what I'll do differently based on how the day went.

Today I was on the computer too much and didn't get enough done around my house...and didn't do enough to feed my soul.

So here's wha…

Stepping Out of the Boat

The waters roared and the wind swept viciously, tossing the passengers of the ship timorously into the night. Accomplished seamen reduced to fearful wretches.

In the distance, a figure appears. A man. Confused and baffled by this utter disregard for the physical limitations of man, the seamen mistake their Savior for a ghost.

Realizing their mistake, they call out to him. Peter does the unthinkable. He asks to take a stroll with Jesus.

He steps out of the boat and on to the water and begins to walk. For a few minutes, Peter experienced the utter euphoria of water walking.

But then he took his eyes off of his Savior. And in his humanity he began to doubt. Because, the waves were high and the wind was strong and his actions defied everything he had ever known about the sea and about himself.

You know the rest of the story.

Can you imagine the awesomeness of being able to remember and retell about the time you WALKED ON WATER?! That's the stuff of superhero comic books and Hollywood…

My Prayer for My Kids

I'm pretty sure there's nothing more painful than having to see your kids in pain. It's tough to witness the hurt and humiliation on their face after being rejected. And as a mother I want to fix it and make it go away. We all want our kids to be happy, healthy and successful. Right?!

I used to pray that my kids would have friends. I used to pray that they would be successful. I used to see a poor or even mediocre performance on a report card as a sign of my own failure (because all the studies show that if you're doing it right you have smart and socially healthy kids, right?!). I used to feel embarrassed and humiliated at church when my kids did something all the other parents were shocked by.

And to be honest, sometimes my initial reaction is still the same.

But I've stopped praying for those things. And I've stopped caring what anyone else thinks of my kids...because we're not here to receive the approval of men and we're even warned to be worried w…

Face it, Own it, Learn What You Can and Start Fresh!

The first time, after I began going to Weight Watchers, that I stepped on the scale to see a gain I was crushed.

The week before I had reached the 40 pound mark and had finally decided to try working out.  Being a fan of the Biggest Loser and hearing other people talk about Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, I decided to give it a try.

If you've never tried one of Jillian's workout videos...they're tough! Especially for a girl over a hundred pounds overweight.

Every day that week I talked myself into doing the twenty minute workout and I was so excited to see what the scale held in store for me that week!

Well, I stepped on the scale to see a 3 pound GAIN. I admit it...I cried. I cried the ugly cry at the Weight Watchers.

Since then I've had many a gain. Some deserved, and some not. But every gain has taught me something...whether deserved or not.

Some taught me that I'm really not that good at guestimating, some taught me that I really do need to get up off my b…

An Unsure End

This morning on our way to our favorite donut shop I got a brilliant idea!

We pulled up to the shop, I handed Caleb money to pay for the donuts and I sent my five wild indians into the donut shop. Alone. Without me.

I sat in the car...in complete peace and quiet and enjoyed my time immensely...only slightly holding my breath about what the outcome of this "brilliant idea" would be...because "what do you get when you send five wild indians into a donut shop?" sounds like a bad joke that I'd rather not know the punchline to.

A few months ago I read an article about over parenting and was really startled by how much I recognized myself in it. Cause, see, I'm a controller and that tends to make me a 'no' mom because saying yes might lead to a situation I can't control and that's really scary for me.

When I was Caleb's age I was riding my bike all over town running bank and grocery errands for my parents. And while I know that times have chan…

Warning! You Get What You Pay For and this Blog Costs You Nothing But Time! :)

It's kind of a cliche to make resolutions this time of year. It's also kind of a cliche for those resolutions to be short lived.

I've honestly never been one to make New Year's resolutions, but I have made a lot of resolutions at varying times of the year...most of which have failed.

But I'll be honest, I've come to love failure almost as much as I love success. Sure, it doesn't feel good to fail...at least not in the moment...and if people are watching...but every time I fail I learn something. I can give you a 101 ways NOT to lose weight (which, let's face it...they really ALL boil down to ONE way)...but it took me failing all of those times to figure out how to do it right.

Here's the thing, I didn't just wake up one morning with the will power to not eat all the donuts in the house. I woke up one morning depressed and feeling hopeless and in that depression and hopelessness I cried out to God and confessed that I couldn't do it on my own…

Tough Times Call For Tough Decions

I was born in a little "Indian" clinic in Cuba, New Mexico--a little town about 80 miles northwest of Albuquerque. We didn't actually live in Cuba. In fact, we didn't live in any town at all. We lived in the (literal) middle of nowhere...they hadn't even run electric or telephone lines and we didn't have indoor plumbing. My parents moved there to do mission work.

My favorite picture of my mom (which has mysteriously disappeared) is one of her standing over a washboard scrubbing clothes...because in 1982 they didn't have electricity and thus no washing machine. They had put the washboard on the tailgate of a pick up truck so she wouldn't have to bend over her swollen belly.The best part of the picture is the enormous smile on her face.

You would have thought that a pregnant woman, living in the middle of nowhere, who didn't have the most basic luxuries (like using an indoor bathroom instead of an outhouse) that all of her friends had  would not hav…

Here's My Sign

Several times lately I've seen presentations where a group of sinners who've been saved by God's grace express the change that God has made in their lives with a sign. On one side they put some representation of their old self and on the other they express how Jesus changed them. You know...kind of like a before and after picture.

Well, after witnessing this I started to wonder what MY before/after sign would look like.

Well, honestly, I think I'd need WAY more than ONE sign...because I am very much a "chief of sinners". But for the sake of transparency and my desire to share with you the awesome power of God...here's my sign(s)...
If you're too disgusted to keep reading, please don't stop there...because the disgustingness of THAT makes the gloriousness of the NEXT part even more amazing...

I have been washed in the blood of Jesus and I am saved by the grace of God.

I am forever changed by the love of Jesus. I am not what I once was. Not because …