Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cowgirl and Batman

Have I mentioned that applique sewing is difficult? I did this logo on Denali's front, and the same one on the back of his cape.

We all know how superheroes hold their hands. Denali demonstrates here.

And after you hold your hands like that, you RUN!

Emlyn's cowgirl outfit came together well. Even though she was being a toot.

Aww they're hugging. Cutie pies.


Got enough candy to last us for at least two days. Kids had fun walking around but Denali was SO SLOW. Ate some candy myself and some parmesan breadsticks and now I feel more ill than I did earlier today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Costumes

This afternoon I finally stopped procrastinating and got the kids' Halloween costumes together. Emlyn wanted to be a cowgirl, and we already had bought most of the items, but I needed to buy cowgirl boots. Denali has a brand-new Spiderman costume but wanted to be Batman instead, and he only had the cape, which had lost its logo. So today I went to the Super Target for pink boots and some black clothes for the Batman costume, and to Hobby Lobby for yellow fabric and thread.

Finding a Batman logo at the appropriate size online turned out to be very difficult. I finally had to just stretch one that I printed off. Then I sewed all afternoon. The result is great and I will be happy to show it to you- tomorrow.

The kids are super-cute in their costumes. Let the sugar-high begin.

Recipe- Carrot Cake Yumminess

This carrot cake is more healthy than the one in my Betty Crocker cookbook, although Joel likes Betty's better.

Pineapple Carrot Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice or pumpkin pie seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup baby food prunes (I usually substitute about 1/2 cup oil for this one)
1 cup honey or 1 1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
2 1/2 cup grated carrots
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of rectangular pan, 13x9x2, with shortening; lightly flour.

Beat oil, sweetener, and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add remaining ingredients except carrots, and pineapple. Beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and pineapple. Pour into pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for about an hour.

I don't use frosting on the part I eat, but you are welcome to frost yours with cream cheese frosting.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I just want to say a quick shout-out to circuit breakers everywhere.

Today a circuit kept tripping, and it took Joel all afternoon, but he finally found burn marks on the wire leading to Denali's fan. Which means that if it weren't for our trusty circuit breaker, we could have had a fire.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bashful

I want to thank all of you for your sweet words about my painting. Rest assured, I will do more when I have the time. I don't know if I'm convinced that I could sell them, but I appreciate you all so much.

Thanks again!

Big Bend National Park

This last weekend we took a four day trip to Big Bend. It was so fun and relaxing. The kids went hiking with us and had a great time, and we really enjoyed getting to know our friends better.

We had a group space in the Chisos Basin and that was definitely the way to go. They have a minimum requirement of 10 people per site, and we only had 8, but that was okay. The rangers are fairly flexible. There were 4 picnic tables on a covered concrete pavilion and 3 bear lockers for food.

The cost was $3 per person per night, and we had to pay by putting the money in an envelope and leaving it by the sign at the lower, regular campground. We were so near the bathroom it wasn't even funny, but it wasn't loud because the group area was just not overly full.

One of my friends reserved the sites online a few months earlier, and she reserved two sites. In retrospect we only needed one because it was such a long trip and the minimum is 10 people. I don't even know what the maximum is, but it must be high.

Definitely the best place to see, other than the Chisos Basin, was Santa Elena Canyon. It was beautiful and we got to hike into it. The hike was so easy a 2 year old could do it. Literally. But it was also enough of a challenge that I didn't feel silly doing it.

One interesting thing about Big Bend was that because it is basically a huge desert with a few interesting things in it, you have to do a lot of driving (or cycling I suppose) to get to the different attractions. Usually when we camp we unload the car and never get back in it the whole time. This time we were in and out of the car constantly, driving at least 20 miles at a stretch.

We also went to see the Hot Springs, which is worth the short dusty hike if you have a swimsuit and towel, and Boquillas Canyon, which is worth the trip not because of the canyon (it's not nearly as stunning as Santa Elena) but because of the Mexicans right on the other side of the Rio Grande.

You see, up until 9/11, when tourists went to Big Bend it was allowed and even encouraged to go visit the 5 small Mexican villages right on the border. In fact I would surmise that the only reason those villages are there is because of the tourists. There are no real roads to these villages from the rest of Mexico, and it's a desert. It's not like there is electricity or any real stuff to do. It was legal to go 10 miles into Mexico, or vice versa, without having a passport or visa or anything.

Anyway when 9/11 came along, the border was closed except at official crossing points. The closest ones to Big Bend are at least 50 miles away. So these 5 villages have suddenly seen their revenue dry up. It's illegal to buy a walking stick from a Mexican. It's illegal for you to even talk to them because they are on their side and we are on ours.

At the Boquillas Canyon overlook, then, some Mexicans have set their wares out. They sit under some trees on the other side of the Rio Grande, watching their wares, and wave at you. They have walking sticks for sale, along with some other little touristy things. You can buy those same items, officially, through the park, but they are incredibly marked up because of the distance they have to travel to be legal.

It was humbling and sad to realize how the world has changed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Denali's Plan

Denali: Well when someone knocks at the door, I'm going to answer it. That's my plan.
Mommy: It's important to ask Mommy before answering the door.
Denali: It's going to be someone with pizza.
Mommy: Oh, really? How will that happen?
Denali: Well they will come to the door with pizza. The pizza man will bring pizza.
Mommy: What will be on the pizza?
Denali: Just pepperoni. And one with cheese.

(later)
Mommy: What are you playing with?
Denali: A battery.
Mommy: Where is it? You're not supposed to play with batteries.
Denali: I don't know. The battery just flewed away. Oh, here it is. It just flewed away.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Honey Chicken

I made the following recipe for my family tonight. It was really really easy. Joel and I really liked it, Denali would have liked it if he was hungry, and Emlyn didn't try it.

I served it with spinach (I was the only person who actually ate that) and some toasted cheesy bread. I just sliced up some bread and put cheese slices on it, and baked it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, till the cheese was melty. Of course everyone loved the cheesy bread (who doesn't?), which I couldn't eat. At any rate it was so quick and easy, and my family appreciated it. Hope some of you get to try it!

http://www.mit.edu/~rei/Recipe.html#honey

Honey-Worcestershire Chicken

Summary: Sweet (honey), tangy (Worcestershire sauce) chicken

You'll need:

Preparation:

Optional: Beat the raw chicken breast with one of those metal cooking mallet-thingies. Chicken breast that is pounded down will cook up very soft and tender.

Cooking: Heat oil in pan til hot. (Optional: throw in slices of garlic). Throw on the chicken; immediately sprinkle some sauce on it. As it cooks, spoon some honey over it too. Yes, it's messy, and yes, it burns to the pan, but the more honey or sugar you can get on, the tastier. Add more Worcestershire sauce, too, until the chicken looks like it's coated in barbeque sauce. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked (make sure it's no longer pink on the inside), serve immediately. Steamed veggies and maybe mashed potatoes go nicely.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Red Rocks Painting


Here's the painting I did the other day. It's in watercolor, and the subject is a rock climber in Red Rocks, Nevada. I love the simplicity of it. That's how I felt when climbing there. Just simple. Climber, rock, sky. Oh and Joel did like it. He said "My wife, the artist!"

Hospitality

Well we did have lunch ready when we got home from church, but we did not have anyone over on Sunday. Some of us were not feeling well and we just decided we would need more planning time and maybe to modify the plans. Perhaps we will invite someone out for lunch, or invite them to our house for a week in the future.

Tomorrow morning early we are leaving for a camping trip. I will have to pack the car completely today. So that's what I'm doing. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hospitality

Last week at a ministry meeting our pastor encouraged us to invite someone we didn't know into our house after church on a Sunday morning. Usually we don't get home from church until about 1:45, so that makes for a very late lunch and if it needs any preparation at all it's pretty much impossible.

This morning I put some chicken and veggies in a crockpot (here's hoping it turns out yummy) and made a pecan pie and carrot cake. One of the good things about going to the 11:30 service is that you actually do have time before church to prepare if you are on top of things.

So my prayer this morning is that we would find a couple or family or person who we don't know, who would be willing to drive 30 minutes to eat dinner in someone's home. Lord, hear my prayer.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I painted a picture tonight for the first time in years. I love painting but often don't have the energy or ability to concentrate. Tonight, though, I did.

I think it turned out tolerably well. I'll think about posting a picture of it after Joel sees it and tells me whether or not it's completely horrible.

Painting makes me peaceful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"I Not Sick"

(This picture was not taken on the day Denali was sick)


Denali: I not sick mommy.
Mommy: Yes you are. You have fever.
D: No I not. Sometimes boys and girls get sick but I not sick. I want chocolate milk.
M: I'm sorry to tell you you are still sick. But you may have some chocolate milk.
D: You see those arrows (on a box)? They tell me I not sick. That one tells me I not sick and that one tells me I sick.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sick again

Denali came downstairs at 5:15 am. I took him back upstairs and tucked him in.

Then he threw up.

Now I'm in mom-of-sick-child mode. Towels, blankets, resting on our thankfully leather couch.

I am frustrated because this is the third week I will miss ladies' class. I really wanted to go this week. I'm convinced this is Satan because this is one of the only reasons I would stay away this week.

So I'm calling you out Satan. You better enjoy this week of me not going to class because next week I am going.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Caves

Emlyn, Daniel, Me holding Denali, and Grace
When my brother Daniel was here for our birthday we drove down to Natural Bridge Caverns. I love caves (when I'm not lost in them) and we had a good time. They took a picture and I wouldn't have bought their (extremely) overpriced photo but the lady said it made her laugh because of the kids. So we bought it, and it is pretty funny. I guess.

Puzzled

The last two days I have mostly been occupied with completing a 750 piece puzzle. I finished it this afternoon. It's pretty. I like puzzles, but they are not always kid-friendly. Denali is at a stage now where he can leave puzzles alone if asked to, so this went well.

Tomorrow I have declared to be "clean my house and catch up on paperwork day." I have a few important emails that take longer than 30 seconds to write, and I have to balance the checkbook, and the house is starting to look more cluttered than usual.

That is the end of my story.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Stay at Home?

As part of my constant struggle to stay less busy rather than more, I have now made a new rule about volunteering at Emlyn's school. Two hours a week, tops. I canceled on the librarian for today because I felt that Denali and I needed some time at home.

He's actually had two real naps in the last two days, and everyone is happier.

I honestly do not know why this is a struggle for me. I know people who are great and content at staying home all day. I just can't seem to figure out how to be content with this house. Plus I see all the fun things there are to do out of the house. I know if I stayed home more my house would be more clean (maybe) and better decorated (maybe?).

The whole reason I don't have a paying job is for Emlyn and Denali. Yet most of the time I don't structure our time wisely.

Ah well. I try not to worry about it too much. And when I feel too frazzled, I scale back.

Tomorrow is our Parent/Teacher Conference. Hope it goes well, and the teacher doesn't come up with a problem, like "Emlyn actually has 5 legs, not two. That's an issue."

I feel woefully uninformed about our presidential election. I got a call today and felt stupid. Is Al Sharpton a democrat or republican? I don't know. Guess it's time to do some research.

Monday, October 01, 2007

We Can't Do it Alone Discussion Questions and References

References

Matthew 6:1-4
“Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men, I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”


Matthew 25:34-40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
“Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
“The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”


Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


“Move Me Aside” Lindsey Kane
move me like You move the trees/change me like You change the leaves/calm me like You calm the seas/Lord move me aside and move/free me like You free the rains/break me like You break the chains/use me like You use the pain/move me aside and move/chorus: Lord here I am/move me aside and move in me/move in this place/until I embrace You King of Kings/move me aside/water me like You water the land/hold me like You hold out Your hand/love me like only You can/Lord move me aside and move/rule me like You rule on high/fill me like You fill what is dry/lift me like You lift the sky/move me aside and move/repeat chorus/apart from You I can't do anything/let it be more of You less of me/and would You use me and show me it's all for Your glory/move me aside and move/Lord here I am/repeat chorus

“A Stone for a Pillow” Madeleine L'Engle
p. 18
We need to remember that the house of God is not limited to a building that we usually visit for only a few hours on Sunday. The house of God is not a sage place. It is a cross where time and eternity meet, and where we are—or should be—challenged to live more vulnerably, more interdependently. Where...we can listen to the stars.

Discussion Questions

1.Read Madeleine L'Engle's passage, above. How can you live more vulnerably, more interdependently? What does that look like?




2.Lindsey Kane, a local musician, asks God to move her aside, to get her out of His way. Why is it so hard to turn off our judging brains and our prideful hearts?




3.Share a time when someone served you and you felt Jesus acting through that person.

We Can't Do it Alone

This evening I am honored to be able to speak at Affairs of the Heart, a women's monthly meeting at my church. I've finally got my lesson done so I'm going to post it here. If you're coming tonight, don't read this till later.

My name is Sarah. I've been a member at this church for 3 years and I've been in God's church my whole life. One of the roles I fill here is that of Good Works. People call me when they see a physical need that we can help fill. We do meals for stressful times. We help mobilize the church family when a person has need of food, clothing, a place to live, or furniture. Often the only part I have to do is organize the list and watch it fill up. It's a fabulous job.

Overwhelmed. Overwrought. Out of money. Out of time. Out of food. Alone. Sad. Exhausted.

Do any of those phrases sound familiar to you? I'm sure they do. Saran loves those words, words of pain and defeat and hopelessness. Words that tell us there's no use in even trying, or that this joy you're experiencing is also a trial.

I'm here to remind you today that these words are not the words of God. This life is full of peaks and valleys. Sometimes you need a person to experience those peaks and valleys with you. Sometimes God, though real, seems far away. I'm here to remind you that WE are God's hands and feet.

Matthew 25:34-40.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
“Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
“The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

I'm here to remind you that we can do seemingly small things to build each other up. We all go through times when even cooking is overwhelming (well, that's overwhelming for me all the time). Births, deaths, surgeries, sickness. I know many many people who will testify that at these exhausting times, the blessing of someone else preparing dinner is more than the sum of its parts. It is not just rice and chicken and a deliveryman. It is life, encouragement, and support. It is help, hope, and healing.

Chinell sent an email a few weeks ago thanking our church for the meals we brought earlier this year after the stillbirth of her daughter Rebecca. Part of that awesome story reads:

“It is not just about the food... it is about knowing that there are people... sisters and brothers out there that care. I did not know anyone, but the Lord knew us and brought us together.”

There are other tangible ways to help each other through this journey we're all on. Dawn recently visited our church and requested prayers. Her prayer request went out to the entire church and helped us all know she was experiencing homelessness with her two children. Our awesome church family was able to provide her with food, gas money, toiletries, clothing, and a home to stay in. We did all of this in 3 days. I sat and watched the signup list fill and I was blown away. There is no way I could have helped her so much by myself. She got over 5 job leads as soon as I sent the request out. I feel so honored to be part of this ministry.

I have to admit there are times when I have doubts about the emails I send out. Perhaps I worry that the need is not big enough, or that there have been too many at one time, or that not enough people know the person in need. I am therefore amazed when, after I put the need out there, the slots fill up. Over and over. I'm slowly learning to ignore those doubts, say a prayer, and send the email. I quit judging others' motives and started judging my own. I occasionally have to ask twice, but overall so many great works have been done in Jesus' name.

We can't do it alone. We are not living in a void. But we need to ask for help. Stop being shy. Stop worrying that your need is not big enough. Ask a friend for help. Ask a stranger for help! We can support each other in losing weight, babysitting, finding jobs, cooking meals, and above all striving to learn more about and become more like God.

If you are going about your day and someone's name pops into your head, act on it. Call them. Write an email or (gasp!) a card. Pray for them. Go visit them. Those seemingly random thoughts are not as random as you might thing. And what's the worst that could happen? You call a friend to encourage her and help, and instead her day is going well! And she helps you instead! Oh no! How horrible! :)

Connect with your sisters. You will be immeasurably blessed.

Play song “Move Me Aside.”

My Sweet Husband

Yesterday was a very special day. Emlyn and I got to go to see "Sleeping Beauty" at the children's theatre all by ourselves, no guys allowed. Joel was sweet enough to watch Denali while we went.

It was a great time and I thought the performers did a fabulous job.

Later Joel asked me if I still wanted to go to Lindsey Kane's CD release concert. I've loved her music, especially the song "Satisfied" which was my theme song for an entire year. I thought I wouldn't be able to go because of the Sleeping Beauty play.

But Joel insisted. "She's your favorite artist! Of course you should go!!"

And I said "I don't want to go by myself!" I thought it would be too late to find someone to come with me. I even called Chinell and she was like "You are so silly!"

But Joel insisted. So I went. And had a great time. I am really impressed with her work. I am still not used to venues where you have to stand up the whole time, but I think that's the standard, rather than the exception. I found a piece of wall to lean against and that made me feel better.

I liked a lot of her songs, and I'll post about one tomorrow. Let's just say that it was a lovely evening and I really appreciate my husband.