Thursday, July 21, 2011

cliff jumping...

"mom, why are you so brave?"...sweet brown eyes ask at the end of an adventuresome day last month.  he was referring to us cliff jumping in mexico.  i was not wearing a nike swoosh on my bikini, but i  did it anyway.  in fact, there was no hesitation...i walked to the end of the platform and dove, head first into the "cenote".  i am learning bravery isn't about calming the doubting voice screaming for my attention.  it is about taking action in spite of the voice. 

i am not sure when the "doubting voice" showed up as it has been around for most of my life.  my best guess is i traded the "voice" for my dad who simply walked out of my young little life.  i was so innocent-young-naive, i did not know i could tell the voice it was not allowed to take permanent residence in my eyes-ears-head-heart.  it has grown into a more argumentative lecturer, casting shadows on every facet of my life.  i would try screaming louder or formulating a stronger argument, but the voice always seemed to swindle away my confidence.

i am learning to dive in spite of the doubts...God's grace and goodness are my safety net.  that brown eyed boy stood at the top of the cliff, doubting he could jump into the water-questioning his bravery,  i was there in the water coaxing him to join me.  instead of listening to the "voice" and retreating back to peter, he chose to leap from the ledge and land into the cool refreshing waters. 

i am brave because i want to teach my brown eyed boy that the begrudging voice is loud but God's quiet confidence it trustworthy...but we must leap to Him.

what will be your act of bravery even with doubt cajoling for your attention?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

happy un-anniversary...

it is the little things that are worth celebrating.
july 14th, 2009...the worst day ever.
last thursday we celebrated happy un-alzheimer's anniversary!
two lime colored candles marking our progress.
isn't he just so charming...just love that man!
find something to celebrate today...and do it with cake!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

lessons learned...

a mark on a freshly painted wall, a ding in the new car door, red juice splashed on cleaned carpet.  after a few days, weeks, months you get used to the blemish, but it remains there.  reminding you life is unpredictable, mistakes or even tragedy happens.  a few years ago july somewhere between just after midnight on the 13th and before sun up on the 15th, there was a nick, score, notch dug so deep into the 14th that would change our marks two years-

and while the path has been challenging, here is what i've learned:

1.  true friends are the ones that call, walk, email, text & cry with me.  i have learned friend is a verb, not a is full of action, not just hollow words.     

2.  apologizing is hard but also necessary.  i have misspoken many times in life but there seems to be a magnifying glass that illuminates these times more now than ever before.  i have learned to say i am sorry-wrong-could you please forgive my words-behavior...again.

3.  painting a wall is not difficult...especially when you ask another female customer in the paint department of home depot for some assistance and advice.  i wish i could find her again and tell her she was right.  it was easier than i had imagined & i am glad to say i did it!

4.  my children believe and trust in God.  we have taught them-exampled for them...but it isn't until their sweet souls were held to the fire that we truly saw their deep faith in our Creator.  i am grateful to be walking with them during this time and seeing God in and thru their lives.  jeremiah has become a prayer warrior for his daddy each night praying for healing and renewed health.  amber & scoot have set aside plans and dreams to help me and popsicle.  they pray and encourage me to press on toward the goal.

5.  i can negotiate a bank loan and talk with businessmen...even when my palms are sweaty and heart is racing.  my bravery is best transferred thru email than in person. 

6.  asking for help is much easier than trying to juggle it all inside of my heart and head.  those friends {in #1} love to lend a hand, as do my precious children...and that sweet home depot customer!

7.  life moves on even when circumstances are challenging...charlie & maya were born, amber is engaged & a wedding is just around the bend, scoot finished his first year of college, jeremiah has school & sports.

8.  nurses work endlessly & carry so much of a doctor's load.  i admire all the work and care they give countless patients.

9.  somedays just lend themselves to a good cry...but then it is important to blow my nose, wipe the tears & move forward...and call ams-scoot-gwynno!

10.  i love teaching...being back in the classroom a few days a week this past year has been distracting & warms my soul...shaping those precious lives-even just for a day.

11.  i understand the value of a dollar...and so do my children.  we took God's provisions for granted.  i feel shallow admitting this but also realize it takes the "covetness" out of the dollar.  who knew i would love target clothes just as much as nordstrom!

12.  we are a family-a force to be reckoned with-a melange of callow superheros {i am working on names for each of us}.  we are stronger than i had imagined but it is only together and with God that we stand firm.

13. humor and absurdity...perhaps even borderline inappropriate behavior keep us all laughing and that is the perfect medicine!  {example:  i asked a man at the july 4th parade if i could pet his wiener {dog} after amber dared me...i did-he said yes!}  inappropriate?  yes.  hilarious?  oh, yeah.

14.  peter is an amazing man that has a cast iron tummy to withstand all of the antibiotics he ingests orally and intravenously.  he faces daily challenges with grace, humility and integrity.  i love him more today...and look forward to the glorious plan God has for him...and us!

15.  believing in God and marriage are effortless when life is easy, but when faced with challenge so much is stripped away.  it is in those naked moments you realize how much you truly love God & your partner.  saying in sickness and health on my wedding day was in sickness instead of health is much more challenging.

16.  lymes disease is a tricky pickle we find ourselves in but...we are going to beat it!  {please close your eyes and picture michael jackson with a lime green glove and a crotch grab-pelvis thrust...singing "just beat it, beat it, beat it"}

hugs & joy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the waiting game...

when i was five, i wanted to be six and a half and have long legs like my sister.
when i was ten, i wanted to be 12 and sport a training bra and shave my blond haired legs.
when i was 14, i wanted to be 16 so i could date boys.
when i was 18, i wanted to be 21 so i could drink...legally.
when i was 24, i wanted to be pregnant.
when i was 30, i wanted to be done with car seats.
when i was 38, i wanted another baby.
when i was 41, i wanted that baby to be ready for preschool.
when i was 45, i wanted a different answer...because the one we received dripped with ugliness.
when i was in church last sunday, i decided to stop wanting and find joy today.

i realized i have been "fellowshipping" with my challenges and not with God.  my thoughts stir up emotions causing turmoil inside my weary soul...God knows my prayers...God knows my circumstances...God knows what i am wanting.  i am finding joy in the waiting...taking my mind off of the circumstances while God solves it.

what are you wanting...find joy in today instead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the BEST of the worst...

so i have been MIA because we have been basking in the sun on the white sandy beaches of cancun.  it was a spur of the moment fluke vacation that was the BEST of the worst vacations ever.

as so many of you know, peter is being treated for lymes and he has a PICC line which can...can...CANNOT get wet under any circumstances.  right, you follow along...we are at the warm beaches of cancun where my sweet man cannot swim, snorkel or enjoy the warm sea waters.  also, this is the first traveling vacation we have taken with fact, it was just the three of us.  the big kids were being very responsible adults so they were back at home.

just prior to our departure, peter developed a slight infection in his PICC line which required me to change the bandage twice a day in addition to administering his medicine.  not really a vacation for him or me...but we went anyway.  i prayed the doctor would forbid us to leave the country...he said GO!  you deserve a vacation.  i told the nurse we would just cancel...she too said NO, you must go.

we were thrown off the first night as was jeremiah, so peter ended up sleeping with j while i was in the other bedroom.  peter comes in early sunday morning...with this:
yep. this is his PICC was dangling from his wrist.  i was hysterical & asked him how this could have happened.  this was the WORST event that could have happened so many miles from home & in a foreign country.  all he remembers is his arm was extremely itchy while he was sleeping.  after a few hours of panic {just from me}-half a dozen text messages-two phone calls, the three of us were off to the beach, pool and snorkeling for a week of fabulous fun.

i realize this event is such a metaphor for my life...perhaps for all our lives.  what we perceive, dread, fear, and fight is not always a disaster if it truly happens.  God knew what He was doing on the early Sunday morning.  he was planning a week of memories for the three of us...perhaps a sweet reward for the past six months of treatments.  thanks God for the BEST worst vacation.  what are you afraid of...maybe it really could be a blessing hiding out disguised as the WORST thing ever.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

panic mode...

i gotta be honest...i have been in panic mode as of late.  hopefully today was the peak of the panic and i am on the downhill slide of this bump in the road.  you name it, i have panicked about it...

the BIGS:  peter and his treatment, jeremiah being home for the summer and all our extra time, an amazing free vacation opportunity, our finances during this season of peter not working.  and the littles:  what to serve for dinner, where to park on race day, will our passports arrive on time, what will we eat on the plane, why is my percentage of body fat so high, what will my long time hairdresser say when she sees my "supercuts" bangs...yep, you name it; i have angst over it.  i have even worried i haven't been blogging!  oh my chrissy.  settle your silly precious heart.

i made a panic phone call tears, i called sister suzie.  here she is and what a precious hat she is modeling. {she doesn't own or wear it...she just saw it and desired a photo of her modeling it-kind of Alice and Wonderlandish on her way to that infamous tea party don't you think?}

she is not a sister in the nun sense of the word...but a sister in the Christ sense of the word AND she happens to be peter's sister!  so we are like related {read this like a valley girl & add a "fur sure" if it meets your fancy}which makes it all the more perfect.  i no longer have a mom to call and this very wise and Godly woman calms my soul, loves me thru my tears and blubbering, and most importantly...prays with me.  she doesn't say, "oh, i will pray for you".  she stops the conversation mid sentence and calls out to God to calm my worrisome soul.  she is my paul.  she prays without ceasing just as he wrote about in thessalonians. she reminds me there are no set of circumstances that are too much for me and my God to handle.  so today, in spite of my bothersome self, i am thankful for a God greater than my situation and i am grateful for sister suzie to remind me when my simple mind forgets.

who is your "suzie"...or do you fill that precious place in another's life pointing her to God when she has forgotten Him?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

grains of sand.

a dear friend stopped by this afternoon.  she has a daughter graduating from high school.  it reminds me of my son who graduated just a year ago.  if fact, her daughter will be attending the same college in the fall. 

she leaves.  i prep dinner {tandoori chicken with rice, broccoli & sauteed spinach (maybe too much leafy dark green), but it was delicious!}  peter & my precious brown eyed boy return from riding motorcycles in the hills near home.  brown eyed boy takes off his shoes and socks, dumping a load of sand on the wooden floor.  at first i find the grit irritating under my bare feet.  but then i remember, if it were not for nest would be empty and the floor would be pristine. 

thanks God for the grit beneath my feet. 
i will vacuum tomorrow.

what are you wishing was perfect?   perfect isn't.  God is.

Friday, May 20, 2011

the magic word isn't please but thanks!

i have realized in this time of challenge that i have lived much of my life looking ahead to something better than my current situation; however, in ephesians God commands us to give thanks for everything.  i truly cannot be giving thanks for everything if i am longing for this day to rush past or looking forward to a particular season to pass quicker than it is.  at best i am tolerating...but God does not wanting a heart of tolerance, he commands a heart of thanks in all things.

in the book of john, Jesus has a crowd of 5,000 in front of him and he asks phillip where they might be able to purchase some bread to feed the mass of people.  phillip replies pessimistically that it would take eight months wages to purchase enough bread for each person to have a bite!  another disciple said he found a boy with some fish and bread.  Jesus takes the two small fish and five loves of bread and gives thanks.  He then shares the meal with the crowd, allowing each person to have as much as he desired.  once everyone was satisfied, Jesus had the disciples gather the leftovers so nothing was wasted.

i loved this story as a child because it seemed like a magic act...Jesus waved his magic wand and said the magical words and BOOM, there was enough for everyone and then some!  over the years, i have become hardened to the "magic" in the story. i have come before the Lord countless times asking for change...asking for renewal...asking for relief.  somewhere along my"adult" path, i have completely lost sight of the magic...His magic.  yes, i want my husband to be healed-i want my brown eyed boy to have a gentle, quiet spirit {not just when he is asleep}, i want our businesses to have positive cashflow...but that isn't what God wants my heart to be full of.  He simply wants my thanks.  He wants me to see Him in the midst of our struggles.  He desires for me  to sit smack dab in the middle of my life-right here today-and tell Him thanks just as Jesus did with the two fish and five loaves of bread.  Jesus embraced what seemed like not enough and gave thanks...God magically made more than enough for the crowd.  it is the expression of thanksgiving that created the abundance...not a prayer of change.

today, God...i have enough and am thankful. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

i have a guest from the outdoor channel!

so i have a precious guest feature on my blog...he would like to recount an adventure we embarked on this very morning!

my precious brown eyed boy says...

i called mom and sissy outside.  there was a bird nest on the patio cover.  there were two birdies inside.  they wanted to fly...i think for the first time.  we locked pennie {one of our dogs} in the dog kennel.  calvin {our other dog} went in the house to eat his dog food.  we accidentally left the house door open.  one of the birdies decided to jump out of the nest.  it landed on the ground.  calvin {our heathen dog}, ran outside and chomped on the little tiny birdie.  sissy grabbed calvin but the bird was dead.  feathers came out of calvin's mouth.  sissy put calvin in the dog run with pennie.  sissy and mom went in the house.  i stayed outside and watched to see if the other bird would come out of the nest.  it did and i said, "come outside, the birdie jumped out".  they didn't believe me, but they did come outside.  the second baby birdie was laying on the patio.  we thought it was dead, but after a few minute it started moving and was fine.  i had to go to and dad promised to leave the dogs in the dog run all day. when i got home from school, the baby birdie was gone, so everything is good.  we searched the whole backyard, but it had  "flew" way.  the dogs can go outside now. 

and he has a recipe to share:

brown eyed boy oreo shakes {his direct instructions}
3 scoops of vanilla ice cream
1 little bit of milk {whole milk is the best}

put it in the noisy blender for a short amount of time.

add 4 oreo "double stuffed" cookies

and blend for just a bit more.  and please, oh please, serve with a straw!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

my fig leaf...or leaves

i had a collision today.  right on the 56 freeway as peter & i were heading to his weekly appointment with his lymes doctor...a book i have been studying and sunday's lesson from church collided right there on the 56 freeway.  thankfully there was no damage to us, the people around us or any property. 

in genesis, adam & eve are cast out of the garden of eden for eating from the tree of good and evil.  satan entices them into indulging in the one thing God has forbidden them.  He has provided for their every need & want with one simple request; yet, satan seduces eve into tasting the fruit.  her actions along with adams passivity cause them to see their nakedness as embarrassing and shameful.

now for the collision...not an actual collision but an epiphany of sorts...the book one thousand gifts focuses on the importance of giving thanks in all things, in all circumstances.  adam & eve were not thankful.  they wanted more.  satan duped them into thinking they did not have enough.  i realize my ungratefulness in this ungrateful world parallels adam & eve back in the garden.  i can use adam & eve's demise as an excuse for my discontent-my critical, never satisfied eye-my self "fig leaf".  i realize; however, my defense mechanisms are only a shameful way to cover what i hope others do not see in me.  again, the collision...but who do i please man or God.  He has all knowing eyes.  He sees right through my "fig leaf" and he wants to provide for me just as he provided for adam & eve.  in genesis 3:21 "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them".  you see, God provided for adam & eve in spite of their sin.  he sacrificed an animal and clothed them...i realized on that 56 freeway He is the same God today as he was back in that garden.  He has sacrificed for me...i must let go of my "fig leaf" and allow Him to provide & protect me.
what are your trying to hide with your fig leaf?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ingredient challenge=sun dried tomato hummus

when i was a child, i did not desire to become acquainted with garbanzo beans or "chickpeas" as my mom called them.  they sat at the bottom of our salad bowl...and then were washed down the drain when the dishes were cleaned up.  i did not have a like much love affair with those "chickpeas".  but then i grew up, and discovered hummus and always have a container or two of hummus in the refrigerator.  it's a delightful snack and spread on sandwiches!  even jeremiah has been caught snacking on hummus.

my recipe...sun-dried tomato hummus

1 garlic clove
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
two fresh lemons, for juicing
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
fresh chopped basil

mince the garlic in a food processor {i received one of these for mother's day and i am unsure how i functioned without one for almost 25 years of marriage}.  add the chickpeas, lemon juice {try just one lemon at first}, 2 tablespoons water, salt and pepper.  process until smooth {i had been using my blender all these years-i should have had my head inefficient i have been}.  blend in the oil and process until completely smooth.  add the sun-dried tomatoes and basil blending until the tomato and basil are finely chopped.

serve with carrots, celery, snap peas, triskets, bavarian pretzels or the traditional pita chips or flat bread.  try endive leaves...they are the perfect "scoop".

potw...or photo of the week!

i know there are online journals and blogs that capture a photo a day, but i participate in something much more fun than an online photo is our family "photo of the week" or POTW.  i married into a very large family almost 25 years ago {i got hitched at 12...just kidding, i am gracefully trying to carry almost a half century of years around with me}, but today this family has grown by leaps and bounds with marriages and children-grandchildren-great grandchildren.  peter's sister, anne, decided about five or six years ago to start "photo of the week".  it was simple...we emailed, texted or mailed her a photo.  each friday, she would line up the weeks submissions and pick her favorite for the week and email it to all of us.  at the end of the year she sent a DVD with all of the weekly winners as well as all of the entries she had received over the year.  it is an amazing way to see the happenings in our very large family.

well this year, i am the keeper of the photos and just love the job...actually, calling it a job makes it sound like work and that it isn't...100% pure pleasure!

here are some of this year's entries...

peter's charming parents...his dad loves to cook cajun food!
85 & 86 years young and so precious!
 the youngest baby in the family...for a few more weeks!
sweet maya...she lives all the way in denmark :(
new babies always earn the winning spot of the week!

and sometimes we even go retro...
here is peter's brother, tom and sister, jill finishing a
half marathon in san diego in 1994...
this was one of this week's entries

here is another sister, susie & her you see we don't take life too seriously
and this little lady has an inner strength strong enough to hold up a home!

we have a family photobucket account, and i post the weekly photos there with the week's winner titled and also email everyone with the winning photo and the photobucket link...
BIG or small
it is a perfect way to stay connected with family in this busy world we live in...what moment will you capture and share with loved ones this week?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

a saturday night...

it is
the allure of sleep escapes me and i relish a restful night.  why sleep do you deny me?  what have i done to offend you?  i ran 12.6 miles hoping to wallow in sleepiness...

i am sensing...
seeing {shadows, while the bright computer screen begs me to stare into its blankness}
hearing {gentle, soft snore of a restful husband, gentle hush of sprinklers, watch tick tocking}
touching {warm laptop on lap! with keys under my fingertips, flannel pjs}
smelling {my night cream...not an overly pleasant smell...but worth the hope it will beg off wrinkles}
tasting {faint lemon in my cool glass of water accompanied by minty toothpaste}
feeling {blessed in my not so perfect world...peace in knowing i am not in in a day well done & a new tomorrow...thankful God has the path laid out for us}
learning {it isn't all up to me, just doing today...and doing it with His grace is enough}

what are you sensing this saturday night?

Monday, May 9, 2011

His plans...

so i was regretting mother's day...
it reminds me my mom has passed away.
my heart was sad because scooter was not coming home
he had come home & celebrated with me a week prior.
there were no real plans for the day and i was okay with that.

the agenda unfolded...
church-zoo with jason & amber-dinner on the way home.
that seemed a fine way to spend the day.

but then ams texted me on our way to the zoo...
jason's family invited us to join them for a lasagna dinner.
only because i didn't have a valid reason for saying "no",
i said yes. this wasn't how i had dreamed of spending mother's day.
i would never have planned the day this way.

we hadn't even met some of the people who were going to be at dinner.
after a full day at the zoo, jeremiah's behavior can be a crap shoot.
and...did i mention yet, scooter wasn't home?
i did not want to go...

but we went.
and i could not have been more delighted!
a warm, loving, gathering of people.
i was blessed to be sitting with my daughter's future family
laughing over lasagna & garlic bread.
jeremiah charmed jason's "miga" {grandma}

it reminds me...i love to make plans
i often forget to run my agenda by God.
may 8th i had no agenda-no plans-no expectations.
the day was perfectly planned by God.
He knew just what this "missing my mom-wishing all my birdies were in my nest"
mama bird's heart needed.

i must remember this every day...He is there to plan my day,
but i must set aside my agenda-plans-expectations.
His way is always better than my way...i must trust...he promises.

"for i know the plans I have for you declares the Lord"
jeremiah 29:11

{this photo has nothing to do with mother's is the most recent photo of
me & the 3 precious souls God has trusted me with joined by peter & jason}

Saturday, May 7, 2011

motherly sacrifices...

tomorrow is mother's day.
i miss my mom, yet know she is proud of the family i have grown.  
she is resting with our Father.
i will see her again some very far off day, but until then, memories of her are loving & dear.

there is another mom i always remember as i celebrate motherhood.
she carried our amazing brown eyed boy.
she named him jeremiah.

she tried to mommie him for a few short weeks.
she found the challenge beyond her abilities & made the ultimate sacrifice.
she gave him a new home & family...and an incredible future.
to her i am forever grateful.
thank you lanesha for letting go of this precious soul & allowing us to raise him.
happy mother's day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

so long la jolla...

yep.  after three years the time has come.
we must together bid you so long la jolla.

ams and i ran the la jolla half for the third time earlier this month.
it is the hilliest half we have ever run...
even hillier than san francisco
{oh my gravy, how could that be?}

each year while we dine on tacos after the race at fidels,
we promise-stipulate-swear-vow
we will NEVER run that half marathon again. jolla...this year we are serious!
you will miss this most precious mother-daughter-matching duo
next year will be a very sad year for you.
you can beg-plead-desire-petition....but nope.
we are sleeping in...we will not be running your race again...EVER.

cheerio la jolla.

p.s.  thanks for the pretzel bag!  the best part about the day...
except of course for lunch with ams and jason at fidels.

p.p.s.  your race "rent a cops" took their jobs WAY too seriously.
we were running because we wanted to...not because we needed to.
we are all respectable-upstanding citizens...not criminals.
you need to relax-chill-calm yourselves.

p.p.p.s.  you do have the best bounty of fresh sliced oranges.
this is endearing but not redeeming.

so long-so not sorry!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

learning to listen...

there was a precious boy in my class this past week (actually there were about 14 precious boys), but one that touched my heart just a bit more than the others. i will call him joey.

joey is hearing impaired.  he wears hearing aids in both ears and i wore a "assistance device" called a phonak like this:

{it hooks on my pants pocket and the microphone clipped to my sweater}
joey's dad picked him up the other afternoon and i was chatting with him.  he was explaining joey can hear me without the device, but it helps amplify the higher pitched frequencies and "drowns" out the unnecessary background noise.  he went on to explain shortly after joey was born, the doctors realized he has some hearing deficits and was fitted with aids right away.  for the first couple of years joey didn't wear them as it was a fight each morning to get them in his ears...can't imagine trying to get my jeremiah to wear hearing aids at two-i could barely get his clothes on him & shoes were optional many days!  as joey got older it became less challenging and the more joey wore the aids the more he realized he was missing certain sounds.  he now eagerly wears the devices so he doesn't miss a sound.  dad went on to say joey is delayed in his hearing and speech because so much of his world was quiet for the first couple of years.  he lacked the exposure to the sounds of the world.  now that joey wears the devices all the time, he is quickly catching up to hearing and pronouncing the sounds he had missed.  he also said, joey will probably not need the hearing aids as an adult, as he will be "trained" to hear and speak the sounds. 

last night after jeremiah was tucked into bed, i began to think again about joey and his "ears".  it reminded me of a verse in 1 Corinthians 13..."when i was a child, i talked like a child, i thought like a child, i reasoned like a child.  when i became a man, i put my childish ways behind me".  joey will become a man and put his "childish" hearing devices behind him.  i then began to wonder about the childish devices i still depend upon even though i am an adult.  i follow Christ-trusting and believing He has a perfect plan for me and my family...but i often can only hear my voice or the noise of the the world and am unable to hear the "higher frequency" of God's discerning voice.  i am easily distracted and unable to drown out the worldly chatter.  i wonder if i could get some hearing aids like joey's and have God wear a phonak so i can hear him better...then i realize i do have a hearing aid.  it is the Bible.  and God does have a phonak.  it is prayer time.  what worldly chatter is distracting you from the higher frequency voice of out loving Father?

off to hike a mountain...iron mountain.  photos later!

Friday, April 22, 2011

i've been on a timeout...

dear friends...
all four of you.
i have been neglectful this week-so sorry. 
21 precious souls have distracted me from my daily life.
i am a elementary teacher by "trade". 
my "classroom" for the past 15 years has been my home.
this sept. i decided to "guest" teach at jeremiah's school.
just a couple days a month...just for some "fun" money.
well, after the last 8 days of teaching, i will be having more fun than i had anticipated.
21 eager kindergartners...thanks for the reminding me how exciting learning can be.
i am blessed to touch your sweet lives for a few have touched my heart
and remind me why i went to college so long ago.

i am eager to walk the floors of nordstrom with my teaching money tucked in my wallet! but first i need a restful night of sleep...

Monday, April 18, 2011

true confession...i'm a gawker

so amber and i ran the la jolla half marathon {13.1 miles} on sunday...i will write more on the actual race tomorrow, but i would like to reminisce about the outlandish pre and post-race activities and outfits we were so delightfully entertained with...

{disclaimer:  i am not stacy london and i am sure i have visited starbucks, shopped for groceries, and walked jeremiah into school in "what not to wear" kind of outfits...however, there are some basic running behaviors and accouterments that should NEVER happen}

1. never wear white shorts-when you run 13 miles, you sweat.  white becomes transparent by mile 5, even on the chilly days.

2.  men should also steer clear of white t-shirts...there seems to be a nipple chaffing issue with some men, and seeing two bull's eyes at chest level crossing the finish line looks like you have traversed a battlefield not ran 13 miles.  i have been told a dollop of vaseline takes care of this issue...thankfully i don't have personal experience.

3.  booty have to be booty-less to wear these.  if you are like me and booty-licious, this garment has a way of creeping and that is very unattractive, especially for those who are running behind your behind.

4.  yoga pants + sports bra = style schizophrenia.  if it is cool enough to wear pants, you need a top that covers your belly. 

5.  bike shorts, swim trunks and bathing suits are for biking, swimming and bathing...NOT running. 

6.  make-up...this bewilders my simple mind.  i have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to get dressed and drive to the race.  i have zero time for "putting my face on" my granny called it.  additionally, i would sweat it off and look like the lead actor in a horror movie by mile 3.

7.  knee socks...these were very "in" when i was in elementary school.  girls were also not allowed to wear pants or shorts to school in my day.  ladies, lets liberate ourselves and burn those knee socks.  expose those calves!

8. pleated skirts...those need to stay on the tennis court or cheer mat or back at catholic school.

9.  do NOT wear the race t-shirt during the run.  it is a bad omen.  you are not a "finisher" until you finish.

behaving badly...
1.  stretching while in the pre-race "line-up".  there simply is no room for this and you are encroaching on someone's personal space.
2.  victory arms at camera locations along the are not working it hard enough if you have time to pose for the cameras.

3.  beeping pace is highly irritating listening to your *beeping* watch.  and does it really help you keep your pace.  it seems there should be a natural cadence to your stride without audio assistance.  i don't even understand the need for a garmin....even if you are the lead runner{which is highly unlikely since there were 7,200 of us participating}, the course is marked and you will find your way to the finish line.  follow the runners in front of you. 

4. is not acceptable to stand in the pre-race crowd and pee out your pant leg.  gentlemen, this is just wrong on so many levels.  peeing in the bushes-do you realize we all can see you-especially you ladies that are exposing your bums.  just because your back is to us does not mean we don't see you. 

5.  spitting and nose blowing with no regard to your fellow runners.  goodie bags await us at the finish line.  no one wants to take any of your "race course goodies" home with them.  be aware when you blow or hawk.

6.  warm-up running prior to the start of the the energy.  13.1 miles are awaiting you.

7.  affection at the finish line.  we are all perspiry and malodorous, lets not kiss and hug each other.

8.  sprinting the last .1 at 21 mph means you did not really run the first 13 miles at capability if you have the energy to burst past three people and carve 3.26 seconds off your time. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

dear pessimism...

dear pessimism-
i am not sure who invited you to settle in our nest.  i actually suspect you came uninvited when i accidental left the door open in hopes of warming our home a few years ago with some fresh springtime air...i didn't notice you for so long, but i realized this morning you have come and settled your ugly self in almost every room in my home.  i see toothpaste splatter on the mirrors instead of  seeing evidence of brushed and flossed teeth.  i see quilts in a heap on the family room floor instead of feeling warmth in knowing my family is using my creations.  i hear a stove screaming for me to make dinner instead of hearing the hum of the oven baking up some love for my sweet birdies.  i feel the irritation of sand between my bare feet and the wood flooring instead of feeling the joy of adventure hikes finding their way in to my home to celebrate.  you come to my side of the bed and tap on the mattress, waking me in the night, stealing my restful slumber.

pessimism, i done.  i am through.  today i am calling the "pess" control company and having them come and eradicate you from my nest.  you have been here far too long,  i crave your sweet, beautiful sister; optimism, to return.

dear "pess" control man...aka God.
i have lost sight of the goodness and grace you give me.
i apologize for allowing pessimism to settle in my heart-mind-nest.
could you please help rid of this nasty, uninvited guest?
he is putting a major damper on this party called my life
i love you-
mama bird

dear mama bird...aka my daughter
of course I can help. 
I have actually been sitting waiting and wondering how long it would take for you to ask.
prayer-time in my Word-a deep breath-focusing only on today.
those four little things makes pessimism antsy and he will quickly more on.
I promise...and I am a promise keeper.
I love you more than you will ever know-
Your Father God

Monday, April 11, 2011

simply sweet secret ingredient #2

i was stumped for the ingredient challenge...I didn't even know coconuts had oil.  low and behold, right there at eye level in the health food aisle of albertsons sat the jar begging me to accept the challenge...
i accepted & here it is...

Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

1 cup of coconut oil {it was trickier to coax out of the jar than i had anticipated}
1/2 c white sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
3 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the coconut oil and the sugars until light. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda and salt in another bowl. With a whisk, stir to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
Finally, mix in the coconut and chocolate chips

Drop by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet.

Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes. They should be lightly golden on the outside but still look gooey on the inside.

Notes:  the recipe was one i found a while back on someone else's blog but i am not sure who's and when i went to the two i thought it was from, i couldn't find it...if it is yours, please link...i apologize ahead of time!

also, the cookies brown quicker than regular cookies.  the recipe reflects the adjusted time.  ams said it is because coconut oil has a higher heat threshold.  i have no idea but they were delicious {the perfect amount of crisp on the outside with a gooey inside-love at first bite} and i am sure marsha will love them tomorrow!

lastly, i froze half of the dough for another week.  did you know you could do that?  yep, i shape the dough into a long round bar {like pillsbury ready-made cookie dough}
double wrap in saran wrap, place in a ziploc bag and freeze.
just place in the refrigerator in the morning, bake as directed above and you will have warm homemade cookies for dessert with little hassle!  nope, i didn't invent the frozen dough idea either..."google" has so many answer.  in fact more answers than i have questions!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the prodigal son

last evening we celebrated aldo's {Peter's dad} 86th birthday.  it was an amazing evening celebrating with catherine-his precious wife of 60-something years, many friends and all of his children...there are TEN, including Peter, as well as all of us daughter or son-in-laws.  the evening took place in orange county so it gave peter and me an hour to chat on the way home.

peter spoke so honestly of the love his family has for him.  this pesky disease has left peter a broken and humble man...a far cry from the arrogant and boastful man i met some 27 years ago.  his perception and attitude toward his siblings was often fogged by his financial success.  his dear sweet family has always been warm-welcoming-loving to me.  over the years, i could see the "fog of arrogance" begin to clear and for peter to truly love and embrace his siblings.  peter said how joy-filled he was to spend the evening with his parents, brothers and sisters.  he continued on to say how forgiving they have all been of  his past boastfulness and the unconditional love they each have for him. 

it reminded me of the parable in luke of the prodigal son.  a young man runs off and wildly spends the inheritance his father gives him early.  once he has wasted away his fortune and is left feeding pigs, he humbly returns home and asks for his father's forgiveness.  the father is overjoyed with his lost son's return and plans a celebration.  the prodigal son represents those of us who have wandered away from God during our lives.  the father is God, joyfully waiting for us to return to humbly return to him.  he is ready to love and embrace us, forgetting our capricious behavior.

each of peter's brothers and sisters has been a source of strength and comfort during this challenge of lymes.  each has called-emailed-hugged-laughed-cried along side of us.  their actions and love remind me how the father treated his son upon his return.  each of them a godly example of unconditional love and patience and i am blessed to be a part of a family that lives and loves with grace.

can i ask...are you are the prodigal son that needs to humble return to our Father...or perhaps you are a "father" that needs to unconditionally welcome a lost child. God grace is free for the taking, we must just reach out and ask.

Friday, April 1, 2011

kale...two ways

So amber from "simply sweet life" posted a food ingredient challenge which was the perfect accompaniment to the Top Chef All-Star Finale i had DVRed. {and a BIG congrats to Richard Blais}

Kale Salad...{a new take on broccoli salad}

one bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 cup red grapes, cut in half
8 slices of bacon, crumbled {you can anything...with BACON and it will taste delicious}
1 cup sunflower seeds

the rich green of the kale complements the red grapes!

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

make dressing by placing the three ingredients in a mason jar, shake

place the kale, grapes and onion in a serving bowl.  toss with the dressing.  I didn't use the entire jar.
chill for a few hours so the flavors blend.  just before serving, add the bacon and sunflower seeds.

and the finished product!

 and the second way...
kale-bell pepper-pasta toss

8 ounces of your favorite pasta {i used whole wheat bowties}
one red bell pepper, chopped
one yellow pepper, chopped
one bunch kale, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
feta cheese, crumbled
fresh basil

prepare the pasta in boiling, salted water.  heat olive oil in a pan.  add garlic and saute for a few minutes.  add kale and peppers, saute until the peppers are soft.  toss the veggies with the warm pasta.  add feta.  season with salt and pepper.  garnish with the fresh basil.

monday morning quarterbacking...i would have added a splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice to the warm pasta just prior to serving  {next time!}

Thursday, March 31, 2011

moving mountains...

i have prayed and journaled countless entries to God this past 18 months asking him why so much all at once.  a husband with an illness-a son moved to college-a daughter planning a wedding-a precious, rough and rowdy eight year old boy with a unsympathetic, and often fussy, teacher-financial challenges due to the economy-a mother's death...why God do you place this mountain of challenges in my life? 

God gently replies back..."if it were just one or two of those challenges, you would handle it all on your own".  this mountain has been placed in front of me to draw closed to God-to depend on him to provide the love, grace, strength and wisdom i desperately need.  i mumble prayers asking God to remove the challenges-to make my life priority is for my life to be easier but God's priority for my life is to strengthen me in the midst of my "mountain climbing".  When I look at it from His perspective i have a glimpse of why i am "stuck" in this phase of my life.

It parallels parenting...Jeremiah doesn't wonder how the meal makes it to the dinner table or where the money came from that purchased the food, he just sits down and looks at the plate of food and inquires how many bites he has to consume in order to have dessert.  i daily plop myself down at God's table and ask how many bites of this mountain do i have to swallow, before i can move on to the dessert portion of life.  God wants me to be nurtured by this phase of life and to count on him to provide so gracefully for me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

mama bird's top ten essentials...

i first must confess i am a bit of a mental "spaz" and need lots of rules to keep me on track.  this opened "assignment" left me with so many unanswered questions...but i came up with a list in spite of myself.

my "must haves" are...
1. give me strength and wisdom that i so lack when i depend on just me
2.  journal and record my thought & feelings & happenings {and to keep that inner spaz at bay}
3.  photo of my family...or am i allowed to take them with me?  i am unsure, minegar family, party of 5 checking in to one deserted island please,  do you see why i need guidelines?
4.  running shoes and a pair of my favorite running socks, those would be "the wright sock"...running keeps me from going bananas and it is quiet, uninterrupted time chatting with God {yep, i have been known to carry on an "outloud"conversation while running-i make sure no one is within earshot to avoid stares}
5.  my fake {i have allergies-oh my} down pillow with its soft white cotton ensure a restful night sleep
6.  breville k-cup coffee maker & nespresso milk is like starbucks in your very own kitchen, but you can make it in your pjs with no odd looks from the barista or customers
{hope i have electricity or this would be a waste of an item...and i didn't include a generator in my top ten}
7.  a novel...either Jodi Picoult's new release "sing you home" which is being released in paperback on april 12th or Emily Griffin's "heart of the matter".  i am a paperback lover-hardbacks feel so academic and serious.  when i read for pleasure, i like to drag the book everywhere with me and don't want to have to be gentle with it and appreciate the weight of a paperback in my handbag
8.  ipod shuffle for some company...nothing fancier-the unknown order of the playlist is just one surprise after another
9.  gum...Wrigley's Doublemint, please...i am a "stick" kind of girl
10.  brazil nuts {raw & unsalted}...good protein and i love them.  they kind of taste like dirt but a favorite nonetheless!

thanks baby bird {amber} for the inspiration!

Monday, March 28, 2011

not so chocolate-y but delicious!

each week we journey to del mar to peter's lyme's disease doctor.  there is a very sweet nurse names marsha that helps us prepare for his infusions for the following week.  i can bake-i love to bake-i love to give, so each week, i take marsha a bag or plate of "thanks" for all she does for our family and helping to heal peter and rid him of the bacteria.  this week the treat was a twist on another recipe i found my friend's blog, Lula.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Cookies...

1 cup butter flavored crisco
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

combine the above ingredients in a mixing bowl.  beating until fluffy.  add the following:

2 1/4 cups flour
1 small box chocolate pudding mix {i think this is the magic ingredient!}
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

mix thoroughly and add one bag of peanut butter chips.  drop by teaspoonfuls on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes!

what recipe of yours could i share with sweet marsha?

finding the goodness

so easy to lose believe the grass on the other side of the fence is so lush and green

it seems our "fence" {the dividing line in our lives} was the diagnosis of lyme's disease.  God says give thanks in all things; therefore, i will obey

the "thanks" in lyme's disease include...
-showing our children a loving, available father not too busy making money to enjoy the days or nights with us
-the realization money does not really solve problems.  it covers up imperfections {i'm not talking botox or plastic surgery}, but it never solves issues of the heart.
-family is priceless and sticking together during trials makes it all bearable
-we must carry, work, soccer, family dinners, church, wedding plans=so vital during this season
-friends are dear...especially those who email, call, and spend hours with us even when i cry and peter repeats an earlier conversation are priceless.  better than anything a master card could buy!
-laughter...especially the quick wit from a man struggling with daily life.  he makes us laugh often
-a home that didn't sell...and the anticipation of not one but two wedding this fall...{amber on 9/10/11 and a very dear family friend, dana 10/01/11}
-a sweet boy with brown eyes that shares childlike faith and wisdom about our might God and his ability to heal his daddy
-quiet prayers with peter while spooning in the dark of night
-finding a small church that lives and loves like Jesus...thanks Cross Point
peter wearing my mom's shoes {on the wrong feet}...
she had died a year prior and he wanted to make me laugh-it worked!
thank you God for a silly & humble man

Saturday, March 26, 2011

hummingbird cake..oh so southern

we celebrated amber's birthday last saturday as she and jason have marriage class on tuesday.  the birthday dessert was the debut of hummingbird cake from "food network" magazine.   i googled "how did hummingbird cake get its name" and it had a couple of explanations...the first, people hmmmm when they eat it {that's kind of creepy}, the second is that people come and feast quickly on it and then disperse much like hummingbirds feeding on flowers or a feeder.  regardless of where the name came from, it was a delicious birthday treat!

hummingbird cake
2 1/2 cups flour
3 ripe bananas, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

cream cheese frosting
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
12 tablespoons softened butter
2 cups sifted powder sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. 
Toss the bananas and pineapple with 1/2 cup of flour in a small bowl.
Whisk the 2 1/4 cups remaining flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Beat the eggs and gradually add the sugar in a separate bowl with a mixer on high speed until thick and light, about  5 minutes.  Gradually beat in the oil.
Fold the flour mixture into the eggs, forming a thick batter.  Fold in the fruit mixture, then transfer to the baking pans. 
Bake about 50 minutes, when a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on rack for about 30 minutes, then continue to cool on a rack.

Frosting.  Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy, then gradually beat in the butter until combined.  Sift the sugar over the cream cheese mixture, beating until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Continue beating until light and fluffy.

Assemble cake by placing one layer on cake stand.  Spread almost half the frosting on top then cover with the second layer.  Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.  Enjoy!

and i am all about family we always relight one candle and let it burn out on its own marking another year of health for the birthday boy or girl!  see it there on the right,,,it is a green candle!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

why mama bird?

why mama bird?...this is very different than why, mama bird?
{i have few answers and so many questions myself!}

someone ask how i came up with the name "mama bird".  actually i didn't.
my amber gave me the name a few years back.
for mother's day she gifted me a simply beautiful pearl and silver bracelet.
attached was a silver "mama bird" tag along with a nest holding three tiny pearls-
one for each of my precious birdies!

it looks just like this!
the artist, jan from hazelnut cottage, sells them on esty

from there "mama bird" became my new moniker...
and i love it-almost as much as my bracelet!

checkout jan's blog...she doesn't just design beautiful jewelry,
she is a talented writer and painter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

mama, are you afraid?

brown eyes wanting reassurance that it will all work out.
i say daddy will be just fine my sweet boy...very soon.
i remind him of our God and his greatness.

{but my heart and head beg the same question...daily}

fear.  it riddles my heart.  it steals my joy.  it robs me of quiet.
it blinds me to the blessings-joy-peace God has to give me moment by moment

i have learned to backtalk.
i refuse to listen-hold my ground-dig in my heels.
i will overcome you fear.  my God is greater than you.

i will step out in faith knowing God's precious plan is unfolding.
i will continue to do what is right not because it "feels" right
if i was waiting for it to feel right, i would be paralyzed.
but God has called me to be courageous
and more than anything...i want to honor God and not my fears.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

tu-tu on the tu-tu

ridiculous and absurdly titled i know...but i had to do it. my precious amber turns 22{tu-tu} on this march 22 {tu-tu}at 5:36ish this evening.  what makes the title so ridiculous is she was a tomboy-would NEVER be caught in a tu-tu when she was a child. but somehow God molded her into a sweet and feminine girlie-girl once she became an adult. {please note: i do realize she is in a pink dress celebrating her first birthday...i had control over the wardrobe as this point}


things she has taught me over the part 22 years:

1. laugh and be ridiculous even when others are watching. who cares what they think.

2. press on even when naysayers shout can't or shouldn't. if God gave you the desire and you have prayed on on and He will reward you.

3. prayer works miracles...Jeremiah, her precious brown eyed brother was a seed first planted in her heart and we are so blessed to be his family.

4. dry shampoo is a miracle hair product...especially on those days laden with time constraints.

5. having confidence is key. having grace is essential.

6. great strength can be contained in a body of small feminine stature...prove those boys wrong!

7. family traditions are worth building. they leave a legacy.

{you are special birthday plate-poppers at Christmas-ny new years-gingerbread houses-halloween parties-
burning the last candle on the birthday cake for a year of health}

8. it is best to have a running buddy to share the road and races just makes the finish line all the sweeter.

9. writing in public isn't as scary as i thought it would be.

and last but definitely not least...

10. i can be a mama and do it well. twenty-two years ago, i promised her sweet baby eyes i would do the best job i could do. there are days i have fallen so short of the "best" mark, yet i wanted to keep her sweet, innocent, pure because that was not the path i had been taught or shown to walk. i could not be more full of pride or joy in the woman she has become.

thanks amber for teaching me so much but most importantly that i could be a mama...
happy birthday my chica-boom!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a mama’s joy

so today is just another day for many college students…except for one. my sweet amber turned her final college paper this morning. after three years and two quarters, she is officially a college graduate. it comes with no “pomp or circumstance”…graduation ceremonies are not until June. She won’t walk…she has a BIGGER ceremony she will be walking in September.

in the midst of a bad economy and budget cuts, she found a way to finish in under four years. her determination is unstoppable when she has her mind set to accomplish a goal in a specific time frame.

a funny thought has been rolling around in my mind as I realized this day was approaching. there have been some who have questioned her marrying at the age of 22, yet I haven’t had anyone ask why she is graduating so young-why did she complete a four year degree in less than four years. it is the same focus and determination paired with love and God’s grace that will guide her sweet pure soul through the challenges and joys of marriage.

loves to you sweet amber!
looking forward to a weekend of celebrating all there is to celebrate!
please note: we love being absurd...especially together! cheers!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

guilty pleasures…

{white chocolate mocha with whip cream}{sees bridge mix candy}{dirty martini with an extra olive}{reality tv}{snooze button}{tableside guacamole from “la cocina”}

Guilt, oh guilt, how do I love thee? There is a constant nagging in my head…this voice that can speak louder than God many moments in a day exposing how I have fallen short, self-indulged, judged quickly.

Psalms 38:4 touches my heart. It says “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear”. I realize during this season that has highlighted my imperfections and additionally amped up my guilt meter, I could be a better mom, wife, nurse to peter, friend, runner…you name it, I could be better at it.

The more I contemplate my guilty-ness; I dig deeper to find a purpose to all of this mental madness. God would not have designed me to feel guilty without there being a BIGGER goal in His plan.

Perhaps my guilt {His BIGGER picture} reminds me…

- I am constantly lacking…I cannot do it on my own. My guilt reminds me of God and his provisions.

- I have fallen short today, but because of His mercy, I will have tomorrow to re-face the challenges and re-new the hope that I will get closer to the mark.

- God knows. He knows my limitations, faults, shortcomings and is word says He will provide what I so humbly lack.

God, thanks you for my guilty pleasures. It is a steady reminder of your goodness.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I am in denial...

the message at church today was about passover and the importance of communion. growing up our church didn't "do" communion. as an adult i regularly participated in the ritual of taking the wine and bread representing the blood and body of Jesus but did not fully understand the magnitude of communion until this morning.

at the Last Supper, Jesus had Peter and John prepare communion for the twelve disciples and himself. during the evening, Jesus stated "I tell you Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me" {Luke 22:34}. i have always thought of Peter as weak in character if he would deny Jesus not once but three times in one day. and the fascinating part of the story was that Jesus predicted Peter's denial yet He still chose to share communion with him.

today i realized i too am the disciple Peter...but worse. i choose to partake in communion-sharing the blood and body of Christ in remembrance of Him-yet i deny Him often...much more frequently than Peter. my worries-anxieties-doubts deny God exists. i am allowing my concerns to be a greater "god" in my life than God himself.

i am humbled. communion is not a ritual. it is a act of thankfulness. in all of my faults, weaknesses, short-comings...God wants me to come before Him and share the communion meal full well knowing my thoughts & actions have denied Him and will deny Him again in the future.