Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Took a Picture of My Feet

I took a picture of my feet today.
I felt it was silly in a way.
But I had to show you my new shoes.
The yellow and gray really pops the blues.
These are Vibrum Five Fingers, just so you know.
There is a spot for each little toe.

I bought them because I read this book.
My husband planted it so I would get hooked.
I'm wearing them running when I go outside.
My neighbors see me and want to hide.
They think I've gone crazy, gone mad.
All except one; they don't make his size and he's sad.

My calf muscles are achy and sore.
I can live with that 'cause I want to do more.
Don't believe me, not a word that I say?
Go barefoot in the grass while you play.
You'll see that the motion is nearly the same.
Your foot flexes properly; you won't go lame.

Six lines per stanza is a lot to write.
To look at my feet is quite a sight.
Just imagine how fast my shoes can run.
Daytime, nighttime, in dark and sun.
But here's all I really wanted to say.
I took a picture of my feet today.

Beds Are Overrated

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


You might be wondering how it's going with our new student living with us, so I thought I'd give you an update. Well, it's going pretty good. I'd say V has adjusted to living with us and going to a new school. She's making some friends and is involved in some activities. 
For me, it's a different story. I feel a bit like a worm pinned down. And I know that imagery has a negative connotation but it is really mostly good. 
We knew bringing V here to live with us wasn't going to be easy. We had prepared Audrey especially for this by helping her develop friendships with others so they could encourage her. We knew that this was going to stretch us. We just weren't certain how. Uh, I know how now!
I had been reading several books over the course of the past year that helped me recognize where I was stuck. It started with The Shack. A book that kind of blows the doors off of your ideas about God but points to the fact that He Loves. (It is a controversial book, so I'm just sharing my thoughts on it.) Then I read A Wind in the Door by Madeline L'Engle and identified quickly with Meg. Only Meg can rescue her little brother Charles Wallace by love. ( a very good read- highly recommended for Audrey age kids!) So Love kept popping up. I had tried once before to read C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves, but since I am such a simpleton reader I couldn't get very far. I decided to try it again and started understanding some things. (It also helped that I read it in my mind with an English accent- think The Lion,Witch and the Wardrobe.) This summer I started reading When Your Teen is Struggling. No, my teen is troubled or struggling but my friend Teresa encouraged me to read it anyway. I'm so glad she did. It made me wrestle some more through the ideas of Love. And in church we were covering Isaiah- a book about rebellion, justice, repentance, forgiveness all for Love. It was like a big funnel pulling me to the heart of the matter. LOVE.

Enter V. Cue the trials. Mic the weeping, sobbing. Now let's zoom in on the bedroom scene. A woman, face down on her bedroom floor, crying, praying. Pouring her heart out to God. Telling Him that she doesn't think she can do this. He reminds her that she already knew that; only He can. She says she wants out. He says no way. He's not done with her yet. More crying. She says she doesn't know how... how to.... how to LOVE. She might not even want to. He speaks. I love you. You were lost, you were blind, you are a sinner. Yet I reached out, not because of what you have done but because I love. We love because He first loved us. It is enough. She reaches for her Bible and it opens up to Ezekiel 47- not a passage she regularly reads but she reads anyway.
The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple. 
He lead me through water that was ankle-deep. He lead me through water that was knee-deep. He lead me through water that was waist-deep.
He measured off another thousand, but now it was a RIVER that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in- a river that no one could cross.
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.
Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks for the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.
Then she turns to the Psalms for in the cries of David she finds more comfort.
There is a RIVER whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in an uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. (Psalm 46: 4-6)
End scene. 

What is with this RIVER and how does it relate to LOVE? Water always equals life. A river so deep you cannot cross? A river that gives life, that makes salt water fresh, wasting away new? Eternal water- eternal life!! That eternal life comes by living water through the love of Christ!! 
Jesus answered, ..."whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14)

Is it really forever? 
Then the angel showed me the RIVER of the WATER of LIFE, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:1-2)

We are dealing with a nation with one life. One girl that is lost. She doesn't know it. She doesn't see herself as a sinner. If I were to blank point that out to her, well, she probably wouldn't receive it too well. (Only a few, like me, actually like that.) How do I reach her? love. Love. LoVe. LOVE! Only the LOVE of CHRIST that must pour through me.

Remember where I, the worm, am pinned at? Love. My short-coming, my struggle, my weakness. I am squirming. I see God's hand in all this. I'm thankful. It is just this place, this time that He has been drawing me towards. But I'm still squirming. It goes something like this: "Thank you, Lord. I want out. Thank you, Lord. Let me go." Back and forth. But He's not going to let go. His love's got a hold on me. So I'll just try to stop squirming. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Start Your Listening

I'd like to start off by telling you I'm a piano teacher. I haven't written too much about that aspect of my life, partly because I didn't know how to tell what. I'm over that now. I'm just going to write what I think are important things about music. You can do with them as you wish. 

There are a million ways to go about listening to classical music but most importantly, you just should. And kids especially should. Here is what I challenge my students and their families to do each summer- listen over lunchtime. The time is short enough to maintain interest and the rest and quiet is nice to have.

What should you listen to? Skies the limit, right? Well, here are some great ones to get started with.
Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf
Saint-Saen's Carnival of the Animals
Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Copland's Appalachian Springs, Rodeo
Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
Not a complete listing, obviously, but it gets appealing music into the kids' ears and they will be more willing to listen to more.

Where to find these? Which album? Which label? Right.

A good starting point is the Naxos label. They are of excellent quality with a very affordable price. You can even go to their website to get a lot more information. 
There is always Amazon, Rhapsody, or Itunes. But make sure you are listening aloud, with your family. And when you download a song or an album, make sure you get the information that goes with it. Who the artist/orchestra/conductor is, the notes/book behind the song/piece/album you are listening to. If you continue to listen, you will want that information to help you make other music choices.

I'm not talking complicated here. I'm talking about getting one album and start your listening little by little. 

FYI: if it has words it is called a song, if it doesn't it is called a piece  

Friday, September 17, 2010

No Degree Required

I made up the name of these brownies because I got the recipe from my sister-in-law, Denise, when she was living with us while in vet school. 
If you need a serious chocolate fix or treats for a sleepover (that you just found out about!), these brownies are your friend.

College Student Brownies
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 regular sized box instant chocolate pudding
1 bag chocolate chips
2 cups milk

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 baking pan. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Yep- that's it. Use whatever kind of cake mix you want, any kind of chocolate chips. Don't make the cake mix with the oil, eggs and water like the back says. Don't grease the pan. Don't get complicated.

Oh, sure, there are way better true brownie recipes out there, like my fave- Ina Garten. Or The Pioneer Woman's Mocha Brownies, which I've yet to try but I will someday and share them with my mom, since she's a woman who can appreciate chocolate and coffee at the same time. But remember, you just found out about the sleepover and it's teenagers, who are going to down them without much thought.

I also like this recipe because anybody but you can do it. Like the teenager who's going to the sleepover.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't Ask- Revisited

Yes, those would be Luke's underwear under the dining table.
When I told him to get dressed that morning, he didn't take off his original underwear but instead put on another pair over the top. Later, when he was having problems pulling up all his layers after going to the bathroom, he mentioned he had on two pairs of underwear. I suggested life would be easier with just one. That night at supper he was feeling uncomfortable and decided that then and there was the perfect time to shed a layer. And that is what he did. At the table.
I don't know what to think except it is a lose-lose situation. 1. He never actually changed his underwear, so he's been wearing the same pair two days in a row. 2. He now has dirtied a second pair, without actually wearing them.

That's life. It happens to you. Or it has happened. Or it will. Some form of it will. And you will turn to your husband and give him an exasperated look and then laugh. You've got to. Either that or you'll cry. Then if you have a blog like me, you'll take a picture of it and put it up for the entire web world to see. If you don't have a blog, take a picture anyway.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

While You Were Out

While my brother and his wife were out celebrating their wedding anniversary, the rest of us had a little get together. 
Taco Bar

Shaving Cream Fight

Homemade Ice Cream

Unstick Your Lipstick

So, ever wash a whole load of jeans with a tube of lipstick? And the lid came off? And it got all over the jeans? Yeah? So whad'ya do?

Well, just in case that hasn't happened to you YET, here's what you can do.
2. go through various Pastor Tom type prayers (i.e.- thank you, God for teens, jeans, for washing machines, for running water, for the job that provides the money that you've really given ultimately in case I need to replace any of the above, except the teens)
3. grab your teen and their afflicted clothes and your husband's WD-40 and get to work. Spray WD-40 on the lipstick spots, work in a little, let set 10 minutes, then wash out.
4. wash again, if needed

I know, I know! Here again is another one of Mindy's far-fetching ideas (i.e. Hellman's Best for your lice, which needs an update by the way), but hear me out. This is not my idea! It is The Queen of Clean's and her ideas work. And the lipstick did come out of the jeans!! 

I discovered The Queen of Clean one day on a trip to Border's when I was looking for a book on how to clean those problem areas. I bought a general cleaning book and a laundry book. They both had fantastic ideas that work and most of her cleaning product suggestions are easy, cheap and not too weird.

Here, also, is the link to WD-40. Weird, amazing stuff. 

Happy, lipstick-free laundry!

Monday, September 6, 2010

It Can't Be Helped

It can't be helped that 8 years ago I missed my daughter's second day of preschool.
It can't be helped that he would be the near clone of his daddy in practically every way.
It can't be helped that the quietness sometimes hides the determination .
It can't be helped that you laugh in surprise when he does crack a joke.
It can't be helped that someday those blue eyes and long eyelashes will be the undoing of many a girl.
It can't be helped that sweetness of his smile is his momma's undoing.
It can't be helped that he can smell a fresh baked cookie from the back door.
It can't be helped that mud, sweat and gasoline are his favorite mediums to work with.
It can't be helped that I love him more than words can tell!

Friday, September 3, 2010

In A Weekend

In a weekend you can travel to South Dakota and back. In a car. With four kids. A pile of books and other entertainment. And more snacks than you can think of. Nine hours, one way. And have no plans.


Last weekend was the big shin-dig in Rosebud, the Rosebud Fair. There are 6 host families from our church and we all made the trek to see the kids' families and get a feel for what life is like on the Rez.

Once we got past the great plains of central Iowa, the landscape changed to much more scenic vistas. Especially the closer we got to Rosebud, SD.

Before we got there, though, we were able to stop and see V's mom, grandma, auntie and auntie's daughter in Wagner. 

And the cat, whom V hugged, loved, mauled. Cat hair flew everywhere and soon Luke was a mess of itchy, watery eyes and runny nose.

We dropped V off at her dad's later that evening and found our accommodations in White River. It was a nice, clean motel room which fit all 5 of us with beds for all. Hung out with the ladies who were there to help re-model someone's home and then hit the hay.

The next day was warm and windy. We made it to the tail end of the parade and met up with Bill's Aunt Janet, who lives near Crookston, NE. The other festivities hadn't started yet but the kids were melting fast so we hopped backed in the vehicles and made our way to Janet's for lunch and some r&r. Uncle Norman was there, needing lunch and all, so Janet and I whipped up some BLT's. Obviously she doesn't read this blog, because when I asked for fried eggs for our sandwiches she looked at me funny but obliged. (you must try it sometime)
The hills were beckoning to Bill so he took them out for hopeful climb. However, in them there parts is sand burrs. 

And one must be prepared against the evils of sand burrs diggin' into ones trendy Keens, so Aunt Janet loaned Audrey and Luke some socks. Then off they set, only to make it to the windmill which pumps the water into the water takes for the cows to drink.

The kids, never having seen a windmill up close, nor a working one, thought it fascinating. The cows, having never seen kids up close on a daily basis, thought it annoying. (If Pioneer Woman can post cow pictures-then darn tootin', I'm gonna post my cow picture!)

Also there were kittens who were enjoying leftovers of melted ice cream and apple pie crumbs. She does not look like she wants to share.

The kids got some birthday/Christmas/thanks for visiting us for the first time ever! gifts and here Aunt Janet and Luke are discussing the finer points of a 6 row combine head.

Once we left their place, we popped back up into SD and stopped by the fair to see V. She was at the carnival. She had been at the carnival all day. I'm not sure how much she slept the night before because she was at the carnival then, too. Her most favorite ride in the whole wide world, the one she talked and talked about and said she would take us on is... The Zipper!

A contraption where they bolt you into a metal cage, which is allowed to flip around to your heart's content while the whole thing spins around. And it goes on for a while- way longer than Adventureland rides. The line for this was always the longest. In all, V rode it 13 times in less than 48 hours. The rest of us? Zero. 

We managed to get her to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl with the kids before she took off. She was probably bored. I mean, no one is going to hurl on the Tilt-a-Whirl (unless you're Bill and then it would be call Bill-a-Hurl! )

Then it was Bumper Car time. Oh yeah! Ka-chow!

When we ran out of tickets we visited a house where the roof had been blown off by a storm and some other people from church were helping repair. I wrote in a little prayer email to friends that this team of 1 guy and 3 girls probably put Extreme Home Make-Over to shame. I know as far as true servant attitude they did. EHMO has sponsors backing them, meals probably delivered like clock-work, materials available at hand and reinforcements to take over when they get tired. Our crew? A bit of money to purchase some materials but I'm sure Bella Homes donated much. Lunch was at 2, decided probably at 1:30 and supper was leftover pizza from lunch. Other needed materials didn't happen because the Fair was going on and the lumber yard was closed. Back up crew came in the form of a few extra host family men and three little munchkins who mostly stayed out of the way but still wanted to be a part of it. 
I didn't take pictures of them because I didn't think about it. The view out the back door though, was spectacular!! 

This is this lady's literal view!! And she has a tire swing hung on the tree. The kids mustered enough guts to try it out. A tire swing is not scary. A tire swing that flies out over the edge of the hill is much scarier, but really, really cool!

On Sunday we hosted a meal at the community center for the students, their families and the host families. It was pancakes, fresh fruit, and ham. According to Rog, the turnout was much better than he hoped. But what I saw was just humbling. Families that might have no hope and sending their child to live with one of us to give them a different perspective on life; one man seemingly moved by the words of God, who just got out of prison; another father having a hard time letting his daughter go and she having a hard time going; a boy, who if he had stayed behind the week before would have been a part of a murder; hearing someone prayer aloud for possibly the very first time in their life and not knowing what or how to say but say thank you.

Then we left. We extracted V from the carnival (Zipper #13) We were wiped out. We wanted to get home. But we had to stop at this lookout over the river. Gorgeous. 

We stopped and V got to see her mom again. 
We got to stop and see a field of sunflowers. Happiness. 

And we stopped for gas. And for supper. And then to pull over for Audrey and V to switch spots in the car so Audrey could hang her head out the window for a while so she didn't get sick (she didn't). 

In a weekend you can do a lot and we did do a lot. But what I learned is that the work that is put before me right now, I can't get done. I have to lose control. I have to let Him do it. 
So if time is of no matter to God, will all that He plans to do be accomplished in a weekend?