Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Untethering, But Not Going to a Tropical Island. Unfortunately.

Recently tweeted by a great preacher friend of ours (a great friend, and a great preacher!):

"Christ promised LIVING WATER; Endless strength & faith. Life's demanding. Stay connected, never outflow more that you intake, You'll Crash."

With that in mind, I will be spending some time intaking, reconnecting, regrouping, refocusing, and enjoying my church, my family, and the Christmas season. I may or may not post for a bit. I'm feeling the need to untether a few areas of my life and slow down for a while. It's all good, just a season to spend more time offline than online!

I won't be going to the place in the above picture, however. At least not right now, although it seems like a great idea! Last year I was ready to skip Christmas because all the hype and commercialism was doing my head in, but common sense prevailed.

Catch you later!

Image credit

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shoe Leather, Mystery Pie, and Thankfulness

Freedom From Want by
Norman Rockwell

A month of Thanksgiving, and I didn't even post on Thanksgiving Day! I didn't turn my computer on all day long. Instead I cooked and ate and spent time with family and friends..the perfect way to spend the day.

A friend sent me the following letter, written by her son who is currently working overseas. I asked his permission to post it here and he said, "Go for it!" He mentions the food they ate this year. I can SO relate! Our family spent fifteen years pastoring churches overseas and sometimes we just had to make do with what we could get. And you know what? Now, back home in America, those "make do" times have become some of our dearest memories and unite us as a family in a very personal and deep way.

The letter is a bit lengthy, but I think it's a great perspective on Thanksgiving. I have highlighted in bold what I hope you get out of this.

"Hey all,
"I may begin to wax poetic here, which feels a little odd for me since I've never really taken Thanksgiving all that seriously. One year when I was active duty and stationed (overseas) I had completely forgotten it was Thanksgiving. I just showed up to work like any other Thursday and thought it was weird the base was so quiet. It wasn't until leadership brought in a whole mess of food that I remembered which Thursday it was. With that kind of cavalier attitude toward turkey day, the introspection I'm feeling now is surprising.

"Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. Not Christian, mind you, because there are lots of Christians elsewhere in the world (for instance, those native to European countries) that don't really celebrate it despite a passing familiarity with the idea from our entertainment output to the globe. I read somewhere that the Pilgrims dug a lot more graves than they built huts, so there's certainly a predominantly Christian flavor to Thanksgiving- but never forget it's also ours as Americans. (This is also evidence to me that football is the REAL American sport, because we don't sit down to watch that perverted version of cricket that sissies call America's past time after we gorge ourselves. But that's a topic for another day.)
"So, from my deployed location, we paid roughly $40 for our buy-in to a catered Thanksgiving meal, and this is where you know certain dishes just don't cross cultures. Some guys here were pretty disappointed, to be perfectly honest. I say it was worth the money just for the story! Yeah, some of the food was terrible, but you know what? I'm really and truly grateful. My spirits are high, my coffee cup is full (as is my belly), and nobody's shooting at us. Just thought I'd throw that last bit in there for some perspective. So we had beef as tough as shoe leather (and for once, I'm not exaggerating) instead of turkey. Big deal! It had lots of rosemary, tasted ok, and wasn't yet another peanut butter sandwich! You just had to chew it more. A lot more. And the green bean casserole was more quartered mushrooms than anything, with green beans diced up like green onions- but it was tasty. And the pies...? Well nobody's really sure what's in the pies. We think those dark things are raisins, but even after eating it we question what the filling is. They don't taste like any apples or pumpkins we've ever had... And I'm laughing the entire time.
"I'll let the other guys gripe. I don't care. Because while I'll whine from time to time about suffering through poor internet service, the fact of the matter is we've got it pretty good. See, we get to LEAVE here eventually. And come on, after growing up eating so many Thanksgiving dinners at a fire station (his dad was a fireman before he retired), how cool is it to be chowing down in an aircraft hangar with some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world as a backdrop? So they don't know how to cook traditional American meals here. So what? I didn't know what the heck their space alien-looking fruit was until a day or two ago.

"I don't really know how to communicate what I'm feeling right now- I've eaten better meals in the states and been less satisfied. Was the food worth the money? Heck no! But I laughed and had a good time, and think it's more than worth it for the story. And when I look at the huge spread of not-very-good food, the fact is we still have a LOT. And that changes just outside the fence line.
"So enjoy your turkey day. Take real inventory of what you have (or in some cases, what you don't) and realize there's so much to be thankful for. As Americans we are really and truly blessed- and only the most selfish see it otherwise. Considering how "crappy" this Thanksgiving is here, I don't know that I could've enjoyed it more and I truly hope everyone who reads this gets a chance to truly embrace what Thanksgiving is all about, rather than just roll through an annual routine. God bless you, and have a happy Thanksgiving."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Which I Am Thankful for My Family, and Point Out That Safeway Probably Won't Run Out of Food

It's the day before Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I love that Thanksgiving is right before Christmas. I think we would do well to set aside time purely for giving thanks and cultivating a grateful attitude before the greed season Christmas.

As a side note, and not really the point of this post, but I'm throwing it in:

I'm not a Grinch. Really, I'm not. I love Christmas and all that it means. I decorate, I do a Christmas tree, I cook and bake and I love the gift thing, family traditions, spending extra time with family and friends. I love it all, but underscoring everything during Thanksgiving is the need to remember that we are celebrating God's greatest gift to mankind: Himself. Jesus. This should set the tone for all we do in the upcoming weeks. Also...I stay out of malls this time of year and shop as little as possible. I hate traffic. I hate fighting for parking. I hate that the general population acts like all the groceries in the world are going to run out tomorrow, and that Target, Walmart, Costco, and Best Buy are all going to close their doors forever this afternoon. I hate spending money I have no business spending on cr*p that no one really wants anyway. (I do love it when I find the perfect gift for someone, but it doesn't have to be Christmas for that to happen!)

I really think we need to step back and have a look at what's really important in our all-too-busy lives. Jesus, family, friends, all the God has done, is doing, and will do. This, for me, is what's important in life. A food processor or a bottle of perfume under the tree a month from now won't go amiss, to be sure, but those things are just extras. We need Thanksgiving, the holiday and also in our hearts all year long! We need to remember Who gave us life and everything in it!

Today I am thankful that all three of my kids are here with us (two live here and one flew in yesterday) and that we will all be together as a family with some of our church family joining us for dinner tomorrow. After all the turkey is gone and the pies are reduced to crumbs I want to remember this year as a blessed year, one that we were able to spend together as a family, reach into the lives of others, let them reach into ours, and welcome a new family member, a son-in-law.

My kids doing what they usually do when they are
together: messing with each other. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Thankful today for this! 

Our son had to start high school again as a freshman when he was sixteen because when we moved from Europe there were problems getting his credits to transfer over.  We decided to home school so he could work at his own pace and finish up as soon as possible. We used Christian Liberty Academy, the home school program with which we were familiar, having used it when all the kids were younger. He finally completed all the requirements and I received his diploma in the mail today! Woohoo!!!!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday November 21

Thankful that as of today my daughter (the one who just got married) officially lives in the same city as I do! town over but you know how these California towns are. One runs right into the next and you don't really ever know where you are. Now to get daughter number two to move out here.... (insert winking face and then quickly an innocent expression when she looks over)! 

(I'm posting this picture without their permission but it's already all over facebook...)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Just In!

I have 89 published posts. 90 as of this posting! (Actually I have 100 posts, but that includes drafts, which I'm not counting. Seeing that round 100 number is a landmark of sorts. It's not a lot when you compare to the "big blogs," but I'm totally happy with that. When I reach 100 posts, probably within a couple of weeks, I'm going to do a fun giveaway. I mentioned some time ago that I'm also doing a giveaway when I reach 25 followers. Not sure yet how I want to run these, and I'm not sure what the prizes will be, but I have some ideas! You're gonna love it, for sure! I want to say that I appreciate every single one of you who reads and comments! I know you're out there...I can see you on my stats! LOL

I'm thankful for you, my readers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let the Gluttony Begin. Or Not.

Our lives have been super busy lately between the wedding, traveling back and forth to Arizona, visiting with old friends, making new ones (hi Syria!!), returning home and preparing for company and holidays. I love every minute of it, don't get me wrong, but somewhere deep inside me is a desire for a simple uncomplicated life.

A life that does not require caffeine to be enjoyed.

I jest.

Sort of.

The American culture and society is consumed, and I need a stronger word here...maybe obsessed???...need something still stronger, with stuff. Gotta have more, do more, be more, get more, and do it now, immediately, yesterday. I think that somehow we as a culture measure our success and derive our identity from our stuff.

I did that for years. It wasn't something I thought about, but that drive to obtain stuff became a motivating factor for much of what I did and decisions I made.

Recently I have swung in the opposite direction. This is partly based in the fact that I'm tired of shlepping unopened boxes of cr*p around the world every time we move. For example, for how many years is my grandmother's china going to sit unopened, unused, and unloved in my succession of garages? I have memories of her and photographs that I cherish. Her china is not something I particularly like or would use, but I've kept it out of guilt. My change in thinking is mostly based in a desire to focus on what's truly important and not be distracted. I believe that the days until Jesus' return for His church are short and we simply don't have time to faff around with pursuits that take us nowhere as far as eternity is concerned. The important things boil down, as I see it, to two issues:

1. Our personal relationship with Jesus. Is He our Lord and Savior? Are we on our way to Heaven? Is He pleased with our lives? (I am lumping in with this everything that flows out of relationship with Him: maintaining a good marriage, quality parenting, committed friendships, all starts with Jesus!)

2. Our effectiveness in leading others to Jesus. Are we more concerned with the needs of others than with making sure our own needs are met? Are we telling others about Jesus and showing them how to be saved? Truly, salvation is the greatest need in any of our lives.

The two go hand in hand. Our relationship with Jesus is enhanced as we look outside ourselves to the needs, physical and spiritual, of others, and as we are evangelistic our personal relationship with Jesus grows.

With this in mind, I have been cutting out the unnecessary from my life. This is not a minimalist blog, and the unnecessary looks different for everyone, but my journey begins with getting rid of physical things that are of no use or value to me, including my grandmother's china and also about 50 pounds of excess body weight! --our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit and we are responsible for our stewardship over our bodies...more on that in another post.

With all of that as a backdrop, I turn my attention today to food. Halloween always seems to be the beginning of the "food season." As my dad would say, "Let the gluttony begin!" Food is obviously necessary for our life and health, and of course it's a nice and often needed addition to any get together, but do we really need to junk out? I think not. Today I had coffee (with sugar), oatmeal (with sugar), more coffee (with sugar), lunch followed by a couple of brownies (with sugar) and you know what? I feel terrible. I'm not used to eating so much sugar and I seriously feel like I've been poisoned. At this moment I have acorn squash ready to bake and well seasoned chicken breasts in the oven. I'll steam some broccoli and we'll have a very tasty and healthy dinner. In the morning I'll probably have an egg on whole grain toast and more chicken breast with probably quinoa and black beans and veg for lunch. I know for a fact that this time tomorrow I will feel fantastic. (I also hope to get in a jog, but let's not get TOO ambitious! LOL)

Over the next several months to a year I hope to pare down my life in such a way that I am healthy, my home is a place of refuge and relaxation without clutter everywhere making anyone uptight (about breaking something, spilling something, or feeling overwhelmed by too much stuff), and my outlook and disposition are peaceful.

So! On that note, I am thankful today for healthy food that nourishes my body, not just feeds my sweet tooth.

Image credit

Written on 11/18/11, edited on 11/19/11 to add: I'm also thankful for being able to sleep in today. It's not often that I get to sleep until I wake up, no alarm clock. Yay! Of course the cat decided it was time for me to get up, but whatever. By the way, why do they just sit and stare at you while you are sleeping? Cats are weird.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday, Nov 18

I published a post for today but I took it down because I want to polish it up a bit. For now I will simply say that I am thankful for healthy food, simply prepared at home. I ate way too much sugar today and I feel it! Bleah. The Pioneer Woman has recently posted about going completely sugar free for a while. Methinks it's not a bad idea.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful today for home made caramel latte. The perfect cozy pick-me-up on a chilly grey afternoon.

I'm nesting around here today. We emptied an old bookcase that was an eyesore and consolidated all my husband's books into one area, then carried the bookcase out to the garage to await advertising on Craigslist. I fixed a wall hanging that had been broken but jerry-rigged together on the wall since we moved, and I'm working on getting my guest room/craft room/office/whatever in shape to receive company over the holidays. I'm painting the furniture in that room so it all matches (we all know how important it is for the furniture to match...sheesh!), hitting up Freecycle, Craigslist, and Goodwill for a black floor lamp and/or something black that can be used for a sewing table/desk. I'm thinking about using filing cabinets with a hollow core door across them, all painted black, if I can't find anything else, but I'd like to avoid the amount of work that will take if possible. I'm kind of done with black paint for now. It makes such a huge mess! I've repainted a lot of furniture in my time, and it all turns out well, but I make a huge hot mess in the process every time. This time I discovered that the paint soaked through my drop cloth into the carpet in a couple of places...yikes! Luckily I caught it when the paint was still wet and was able to scrub it out with a washcloth. I paint barefooted because I step in it all the time, but I have to remember to wipe my feet before I walk on the carpet. Don't ask. I tell myself that projects like this always look worse before they look better, right?

I took a nice picture of my latte on the mantel with twinkly orange lights and dried leaves (very seasonal, eh?) and emailed it to myself so I could post it here. It's not showing up in my inbox. So...I uploaded it to my Picasa account. Not there. Either Verizon has a problem or it's a user error. That would be Haha! My Verizon service isn't that great these days, but the problem right now is probably the latter. My latte actually looks pretty much like the picture anyway, except for the twinkly lights.

image credit 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back Home Again

"Hey, it's good to be back home again...." What's that old John Denver song? Ok, so I'm dating myself. I'm not ashamed to admit I loved John Denver as a teenager!

Anyway, we're back in the saddle here. Well, sort of! After faffing around with coffee, lost keys, and loading the last of the stuff we were finally on the road at 7.45 am to drive our daughter's car home. She and her husband are on their honeymoon and will fly straight here in a few days. We arrived home about 8.30 pm. (I promptly slept for eleven hours.) Allowing for the time change between Arizona and California we made good time. We don't mess around when we do that drive. It's too far to waste time. We do it in one long straight shot, bringing sandwiches and snacks and energy drinks (Hello purple Monsters! Gotta have those!!) or just grab something fast and eat in the car. Yesterday it was almonds and coffee on the way out of town, Quiznos and purple Monsters in Blythe, and cheddar flavored chex mix in nowhere-ville California.



Actually the Quiznos was pretty good.

Anyway, we grab some food, gas up, and hit the road. I usually drive the first half and then my hubby finishes up. We tried it the other way around once and it was not a good scene. Let's just say that waking up in the opposite lane facing oncoming cars is NOT a good idea! Granted, on that particular trip we had traveled overnight instead of starting out early in the morning, but sleeping while driving is probably not a good idea. Hubby is good for either shift, but I can only do the first one if we want to arrive alive.

Click this link if you wonder what we've been doing for the last week! This will also explain why my Month of Thanksgiving posts have been sketchy. I tried to post daily. I really did. There was just too much going on and posting from my phone was too much hassle. I was going to go back and clean up the ones I did but...nah. 

My thankful post for today is associated with the link. I am so thankful for longevity, history, and heritage in the Kingdom of God.

image credit

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

update from the phone:

posting from my phone...painful. no caps, limited punctuation. i cant express myself that way. maybe its atually a good exercise for me, haha. anyway, today i am thankful that my daughter is a hair stylist...a good one. purely for selfish reasons i am thankful for that but i gotta be real. insert exclamation marks and smiley faces where appropriate. more tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aaaaaccckkk! I missed a day!

I didn't do my post yesterday....but in my defense, I was traveling, and then attending my daughter's bridal shower. At the shower I caught up with some old friends. One friend in particular is someone I roomed with right up until the day I was married. (Hi Maggie!) As soon as I saw her I remembered so clearly the night before my wedding. I was freaking out in true bride style..."What am I doing???? I can't get married!!! What if he's the wrong one?" She and my other roomies talked me off the ledge, I got married the next day and seriously, have never regretted that decision for a second. Anyway, when I saw her at my daughter's shower it dawned on me that these old relationships are extremely precious, and I dare say not very common. Our lives are still closely intertwined after all these years as we see our own children through the same life decisions and journeys we undertook ourselves. I'm thankful for old friends.

I'm also thankful for new friends. I've met the lady who is doing the photography for my daughter's wedding. She is so sweet and so nice, and I'm thankful for her and her willingness to use my daughter as a guinea pig for her portfolio for her budding photography business! This lady has kids who are close friends with my kids so I'll be seeing more of her. :-D

Seems like the theme of thankfulness and friends and relationships is foremost in my mind these days!  

So I've done a two-fer today...let's hope I can get online again tomorrow! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


One week from today my daughter will no longer be Miss, but Mrs. (!!!) In light of this upcoming celebration, I want to share the celebration you see below. L.O.V.E. I.T.!!! I have posted this before, but in light of this Month of Thanksgiving, I want to repost it, and say that I am thankful for such an incredibly fun and joyful outlook on life! This video always makes me smile! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Today I Am Thankful For...

...freshly brewed coffee. Lots of it. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thanksgiving Month: November 4, 2011

Home is where the heart is.
We have a fantastic relationship with our soon-to-be son-in-law. He stopped by just now with his brother and they are hanging out for a bit. Love that! Love that people feel at home in my home, and I'm thankful that my home is a happy place for anyone who wants to come over, and thankful that our family is expanding in such a wonderful way!
Image credit

It's Raining, and I Love It!

I mean, what's not to love when you can wear boots like these?!!!Aren't they too cute for words? Love them! They are a "happy thing!" I wish I knew where to find them because I would buy them! They are totally me!

Rain. When we lived in England we had so much rain and grey skies that I thought I'd never be happy to see the rain again. I'm a desert rat at heart. I grew up in southern Arizona where the rain blows through in huge beautiful monsoon storms in the summertime and some gentle rain in late winter. That's it. Mostly we had dry hot weather and I grew to love it, though when the rains came though we got as excited as kids at Christmas. The weather in England was a novelty at first, but the constant grey and drizzle quickly grew old and downright depressing. Move forward eighteen years, and here I am in Northern California with beautiful, beautiful weather. Lots of sunshine, hot summers, beautiful fall color, mild winters. Perfect for me. This would, however, exclude San Francisco, where we lived for about a year when we first moved out here. For geological and meteorological  reasons I don't understand, San Francisco gets a lot of cloudy grey chilly weather. Someone said that the coldest winter they ever spent was summer in San Francisco. So true! I'm sure I could find the quote if I looked, but if you really want to know where it came from I'm sure you know how to Google it. (I wonder how long it will be until "google" is officially a verb in the English language...) SF is too much like England! Some love it and the fog is beautiful, as is the city itself and I think it's an amazing place that I love, but I had enough grey to last a lifetime!

Anyway, back to my point.

Rain. It rained last night and it's still drizzly this morning and you know what? I like it again. Never in a million years did I think I would say that, but I do! I like the rain! 

It's so much more satisfying to be content than to always be fighting against whatever life throws at you. Not that we don't contend for what's right, what's good, what's pure and lovely, but there is great gain in contentment

So, bring on the rain in the Bay! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fig Trees and Early Mornings

November 3rd. Day three of a month of Thanksgiving.

Today I was reading in the book of Mark (also found in Matthew) about the fig tree that Jesus cursed when it bore no fruit and the tree died. I was a bit confused about what this all means. Figs were not in season, yet Jesus expected the tree to bear fruit at that time.

Isn't that unfair? Isn't that unreasonable?

No. There is a lesson there for us. By the way, all scripture is given to us by God for our instruction and guidance and the answer to every single situation in life can be found within the pages of the Bible. Just thought I'd throw that in as an extra! :-) Anyway, there is a lesson in that scripture that my husband pointed out to me. God expects us to be fruitful for His kingdom, and there is no excuse for unfruitfulness. Even when, in our own minds or by our limited human understanding, we think that we have a good reason to sit back on our laurels and let someone else do the work, we are wrong.

But it's impossible for a tree to bear fruit when it's not in season!

Not true, because with God all things are possible, even bearing fruit out of season. Dare I say, especially bearing fruit out of season! God demonstrates His miracle power when things happen that are beyond our understanding.

I am thankful for God's Word that brings direction and help to our lives, and also gives us little nuggets of His character and who He is. I've been getting up daily at 5.30 to pray and read my bible and I have to be's tough. Some days are harder than others and I often just want to crawl back into bed (like was raining and my pillows looked so cozy!) but I'm always, always glad when I'm up and at it. (I set up my coffee at night so it's ready for me in the morning...a little luxury to help me start the day at o'dark thirty.)

"...those that seek me early shall find me." Proverbs 8:17
"Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalms 119:11

Image credit

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life Is Never Dull

Today has been super busy and hectic but I want to get in my thankfulness thought for the day before I hit the sack. I am thankful for so many things, but I'll mention that I'm actually very thankful for being so busy today! I'm thankful that I have enough going on in my life to keep me from ever being bored! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all that is on my plate, but in the words of one of my old friends who doesn't blog (so I can't refer you!) " is never dull!" She says this in her charming Tennessee drawl in reference to being married to her hilarious and very adventurous husband.  This is her philosophy on life too...that life is never dull, and she is someone who just loves life and everyone she comes into contact with. She is one of my favorite people to be with and I should add here that I'm thankful for her too, and will be with her this time next week! Happiness!

Image credit

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Just Wanted to be Sure of You

Happy November! Happy Thanksgiving month! This month I will be joining together with my friend Anne and posting daily about something I am thankful for. It may be a big thing with pictures and the whole nine yards, or it may a small one liner with no picture at all (thinking of the trip I'm about to take to my daughter's internet access other than my phone...yada yada), but one way or another, I think Thanksgiving is a very important holiday important to remember and our culture is rapidly forgetting.

Our society is way too caught up with stuff and materialism, especially where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area! I would like to take this month and not focus on the bling of Christmas, but focus on thankfulness, not only for where we came from as a country but in general. We must maintain a thankful attitude if we are to appreciate Christmas as truly an honoring of the birth of our Lord and Savior, not just jingle bells and presents.

Yes, I will be working on some Christmas ideas and gifts during this month. Three weeks in December is not enough time to pull together some of the gifts I would like to give this year (hint: they are coming out of my craft studio!) but my thinking is to focus on living thankfully.

So! With that as an intro, today, November 1st, I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for friends especially who are willing to overlook our mistakes, faults and shortcomings, and just love us, no matter what. Thank you.