Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Craigslist... you gotta love it!

I was perusing craigslist the other day, and the following listing made me laugh so hard, I emailed the seller to tell her thank you for the best laugh of the day. I have copy and pasted it unedited for your reading pleasure. 

"I'm selling our living room couch, loveseat and a coordinating wingback chair because I am exercising my God given right to CHANGE MY MIND. These items are approximately eleven years old and I think changing my mind and wanting to change up a room or two or ten every other year for eleven years is pretty conservative, no matter what my husband says in therapy. So, it's time for new paint, new furniture, new rugs and a whole mess of built-ins in the living room and none of that can be done until (1) I trick my husband into thinking this was his idea; and (2) I get rid of this furniture. If you can't help me with the first requirement, how about helping me with the second? This furniture, much like those last ten pounds that appear to be permanently cemented to my thighs, needs to go! Like, yesterday.

The couch is a dark grayish sea green color and measures approximately 90" long, 35" high and 38 inches deep and comfortably fits a 6'2" man lying prostrate through three entire football games, back to back. Don't ask me how I know.

The loveseat is the same dark grayish sea green color and measures approximately 70" long, 35" high and 38 inches deep and comfortably fits a 4'2" nine year old who collapses upon it out of starvation and/or dehydration, all because her mother sucks the fun out of life by not allowing her to have a third popsicle before dinner. Don't ask me how I know.

The wingback chair was custom covered in a floral tapestry print and measures 32.5 inches wide and 44" high and 32 inches deep when it's not reclined. When it's reclined, I have no idea what its measurements are because it's near impossible to maneuver a tape measure in that position without assuming some sort of yoga position and I'm allergic to all things exercise. The chair will comfortably hold the contents of five large baskets worth of freshly laundered jeans, shirts, socks, underwear and towels. Don't ask me how I know.

In addition, there are four throw pillows custom made out of the same floral tapestry print as the wingback chair because eleven years ago, I went insane and spent almost as much for these pillows as I did the darn chair because I was all about coordination. LIFE WASN'T WORTH LIVING WITHOUT COORDINATING ACCENTS. Eleven years and one teenager later and I'm not so much about coordinating anything anymore as I am about remaining vertical, remembering my name and tying my shoes.

The loveseat is in pretty good condition - things are firm and located where they're supposed to be located. Kind of like I used to be.

The couch is in fair condition - things have shifted, the bottom has sagged and the back gives out occasionally. Kind of like the way I am now.

The wingback chair is in excellent condition, having aged well. It's obviously a male.

This is a smoke-free home. I'd say it's a pet-free home too but we just got a shih-poo puppy three weeks ago. However, he's not even three pounds yet, so technically, I'm not sure if he can be classified as an actual dog. Contrary to what some may believe, I did not shrink him in the dryer.

Cash only, please. Oh, and local buyers only, please as obviously, I'm not about to ship these pieces anywhere. Please. I can't even get myself to go the post office for a stamp. "

You're Welcome. 

Some insights into Deputatin'...

Yes, we have spent a good amount of time in the south as of late. And along with spelling the title to this post as one would say it in the south, there have been other remnants of each trip. Some I enjoy, others not so much.

Good news or bad news first? Bad? OK. You are like me and like to just get it over with!

The first under the "not so much" category- this nagging back ache from traveling umpteen miles completely strung together with only 15 minute breaks every 379 miles. That is almost FIVE hours of drving!!! Please, do not do the math. It is slightly over most speed limits- though some states post 70 mph! But back to the point... the seats in our 1998 Chevy van are absolutely shot. Combine that with having had five children- two of which were over ten pounds (read that as my tummy muscles are shot too!)  and my back barely stands a chance on plush and well supportive seats. I can walk now, which is much more than I was able to do for a few days while on the road!

Second on the bad list- the jet lag I feel even though I have crossed absolutely no time zones. I love to travel. It is the "drive til you drop" kind of thing I am referring to here.  Sadly, I am usually the loudest encourager to make it to the next rest stop! Self sabotage, I tell you!

OK. Enough of all that. On to the enjoyable parts!

I love spending copious amounts of time with my family.

I absolutely adore teenagers (sick as that sounds to some of you) and I have a full passel of them. They are witty, energetic, full if fresh perspective and joy in the craziest things, and best of all, can take themselves to the rest room. That, my friend, is a great BONUS!!!

I also love the interaction I witness between the boys  and Savannah. They really do love each other. While everyone may not see genuine care between siblings as they compare five stars and monkey bubbles, I truly do. When they take Savannah's treasures and spontaneously make a hide and seek game with them all, I know all of the screaming is from delight and the tears are of utter joy. I am learning it is mostly perspective. I choose to take the delusional optimistic point of view. They wont kill each other, of that I am certain relatively assured. And think of all the things they will talk about after they become well adjusted adults with families of their own. Some of the most hilarious evenings I have had as an adult were times spent with siblings of other families as they recounted the joys and terrors of growing up together. It is all about memories!!!

Another positive of deputation, after so much time spent together Dan is so close and connected with me,  the fact that my unpacked suitcase still lays on the floor in my bedroom is OK. We had a few long weeks! And we have only been home for two weeks. Well 17 days, but who is counting. He is so sweet and loving, I think he truly doesn't even see it from the glow about my radiant face as he basks in the love he has for me. I recommend deputation for every couple that needs to see their spouse in a new light. It truly is miraculous.

But seriously now. I have enjoyed all of the time with my family. I recognize it is perspective, and I am thankful the Lord is giving us this time together. That they are teenagers means I don't have a whole lot of time left with these punks, and treasuring each moment is high on my priority list.

I am a terrible journalizer, and this blog is the closest thing I have with regard to a permanent place to store all of these thoughts. And the beauty of it is, I dont get a cramped hand or freak out because my fine tipped red ball point pen is out of ink. Granted there is the possibility of a laptop crash or a no wifi zone, but we wont talk about those things!!! And actually, wifi dead zones are a good break every now and again!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Closet Passion(s)...

Cooking. Baking. Eating. (I am sure the last is no surprise to many of you!)

I have always loved it. Please don't tie me down to a recipe though. Unless it is baking, which I realize is best mostly following a recipe. Though my favorite cookie is a morphed recipe.

I enjoy seeing other peoples creations, and bookmark them to one day try myself. Some times I am blown away by the thought... "Why didn't I think of THAT before??" Like making home made chicken nuggets. How many thousands of dollars could I have saved? I am sure my children's college funds would be fully funded exist had I known about these money savers!

Also, check this out Cupcake Pops!! Are these not adorable??

My (birthday) is coming up soon, I think I may have to try these! :)

In the spirit of loving all things foodish, I have been known to come up with a few goodies of my own. One most recent was a new twist on french toast after a long car trip.

When we began deputation, we figured we would save money by bringing all the "travel food" we would need with us. All that really meant was the bananas would get smashed, as well as the bread and apples. The lunch meat would be tossed out after the melted ice would have water logged it beyond consumption, and we would end up stopping for food anyhow. Not great savings... actually paying more.

However, we got home after one trip in particular with a nicely smashed loaf of bread... but still quite fresh. We had been away for 5 weeks, and as you can imagine had less than anything in the house to eat. We did have eggs, syrup and smashed bread. (light bulb moment... French Toast!)
I crumbled the bread and mixed it with eggs, vanilla, a little half and half (no milk...) and a small amount of flour. Voila! French Pancakes! I put them onto the griddle, and they needed to be flattened a little. They almost looked like little muffins at first.

I cooked them on our griddle, and due to the denseness of them, I opted to cook them on lower heat, and created a bit of an "oven" effect with a jelly roll pan.

I thought that was a bit of genius after having been on the road for the entire previous day. It worked great too.
Here they are flipped and finishing up. They were golden, fluffy, and oh so lovely to smell! The vanilla and the egg and the butter...! YUM!

Here is Savannah making hers the "house favorite" way... Butter, syrup and powdered sugar sprinkled on it. High energy breakfast to be sure!

They tasted AmAzInG! I have been known to destroy a perfectly good loaf of bread to repeat the breakfast. ALSO, I might add, it is much neater than individually dipping the bread and dripping it over to the griddle!

I am sure you have heard the adage "necessity is the mother of invention", and this certainly was the cause of several meals having been created in my kitchen. I have an older sister who has 7 children, and she is The Queen Supreme Improvisor when it comes to cooking and baking. She is single handedly responsible for most if not all of my kitchen tutoring. I dont want to limit the list to only cooking. It surely stretches to every aspect of my life. The list would include but not be limited to sewing, child rearing, laundry tips, craft projects, altering anything to fit anyone, clothes rotation in a large family, the best movies and tv shows to both watch and not, "how to" and "how not to do" nearly everything!

That being said, I have often thought of doing a few posts named "5 under $5"= Making a meal for five for under $5.00. In truth, the meals feed more like 7 or eight. We always have left overs, and have 7 in my family. Though Savannah eats like a bird, so maybe 6 1/2. It is more than possible though, and I have been doing it for years. I have about 7 staple El Cheapo meals that get rotated in. These meals are like a triple bonus. They are not only cheap, but they usually take about 20 minutes to prepare, and many are one pot meals. Factor in that they taste DeLiCiOuS... and you have more than enough incentive to try them!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life as a *M.O.B. Continued...

I wrote a while ago about having sons, and the insanity joys they bring. Truly they are precious and gifts from above. At this writing, my oldest son (16 yrs old) is 5'11". The second (14.5 yrs old) is a full 6'- one inch taller and 7 lbs heavier than his older brother. The third (12 yrs old) is kindly staying below my eye level at 5' even. But he is threatening a growth spurt. His brothers did most of their growing when they were 12, so I am terrified prepared.

As they grow, I am pleased with many of the character traits I see developing. They are very nurturing, helpful, and in general really great guys. They love their sisters, and are very demonstrative of their love.

Savannah (7) now knows more x-box games proficiently than I knew existed. They call it bonding time. I call it "do anything to keep her out of my stuff". It is all in love though.
It is a neat thing to home school children with 11 years from oldest to youngest. It certainly brings many facets into the sibling experience. Growing up, there was only 5 years between me and my oldest sister, and I really felt like we were on two different planets.

Some of my kids best friends are their siblings, and I have to know it is because they are together. All the time. With no breaks. Ever. I exaggerate a little, but home schooling makes a family Very. Close.
Sometimes it can get to them. This is on the way to Mississippi last fall. Notice, if you cropped out Levi, he looks like there is not a thing wrong in the world. The fact that his brother is quickly losing consciousness has no affect on him whatsoever. And there is a smug, satisfied, cheshire-ish grin on Si's face. Almost like he is willing Levi to do his bidding for him. I love the way my cell phone caught the flailing feet. All in a days work...

And they share their stuff so willingly. Really. Savannah wasn't screaming the whole time this picture was taken. I never heard "MOM!!! He won't give me back my hat!!" Nope. Not once.

And a little adrenaline rush is just a given fact. She actually thrives on it! They can't go fast enough, long enough, or loud enough for her. Sometimes, I think they go faster-longer-louder because she is such a great encourager!
I really had to search to find a picture of Savannah and Micah together. The fact that she has him buried under a ton of rocks at low tide just as we were needing to leave is not significant at all. They love each other, and are very sweet together. Really.

I do love where they are all at right now though. I have thought this at each stage of parenting. Well except the infant stage. I have resigned myself to the fact that I was perhaps flawed during that time. That I basically endured the first 4 months of each of their lives is just a fact that I have come to accept as a complete testament to the mercies of God renewed every day. I look back and have almost no recollection of those days. Some call it post traumatic stress disorder. Others call it postpartum blues. I truly believe I just like people who can have some semblance of a schedule, and a communication ability beyond screaming for everything they want. Is that too much to ask?

But call it age or maturity, or a losing of my mental faculties... the other day I actually saw an infant and had the urge to ask if I could hold it. I suppressed it. But something tells me there will come a day...!!!

*Mother of Boys

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Asleep on a pillow..."

And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? Mark 4:36-42

This is where I am currently reading in the Gospels.

I always love this passage where it says Jesus was asleep with his head on a pillow. In my mind I contrast that with the time he spoke to the scribe when he said the son of man hath not where to lay his head. Finally there is a time of rest for the Son of Man... he is comfortable in a ship, rocked by the waves to a peaceful sleep on a pillow.

While the world around him rages and the disciples freak out in what many a scholar has said to be a demonic storm on the sea. Amazing.

This last time through, the Lord really showed me... I am like the disciples.

Clearly in the Word, my husband is to be like Christ to me. He is the head of my home, the spiritual leader, the one who is to love me like Christ loves the church. And he does an amazing job at this. I have said before that I am married to the most amazing man, and that God surely bestowed favor on me when he gave me my husband. (for so many reasons!)

So in this passage, while through Salvation I have the ability to act like Christ- settled and restful as if my head is on a pillow while the world around me rages- all too often I freak out and and hysterically scream at complain to my husband that he doesn't care enough about me because he is asleep! When we have a big decision to make or a struggle put in front of us, I often see him resting and peaceful while I feel frustrated that he doesn't care because he isn't joining me in my hysteria. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it??!! When I feel tossed about in the wind and rain, instead of going and laying beside him in his resting (in the safety of the Saviour) I drag him into my turmoil, and ask him to fight the battle for me. While this gives him the opportunity to feel all manly man like the guy in the "old spice" commercial... really it just drags him down to my sad state of not trusting and frankly... little faith. The Bible clearly says...

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

So when I read that Jesus was asleep on a pillow, I am glad it was recorded for so many reasons. One of them is Jesus found a little rest on this wicked Earth. I know it wasn't because he had it easy. It was because he knew how to find rest in his Father. Also, I can not only learn from his example, but I see my husband follow it. Just as Paul said, we are to follow those who follow Christ. I am thankful my husband does. I don't want to be like the disciples in this particular scenario. I want to join Christ... and my husband... and rest my head on a pillow. The pillow of faith, trust and belief.

Something tells me it is a really big pillow, with room for a lot of people to use. Wanna join?

Monday, March 15, 2010

It is Monday!

Well, we are home again after a three week trip through several states. Our journey brought us to four different churches, and we had a wonderful time in each for many different reasons.

It was a very profitable trip as well. We met a whole slew of amazing people and made some really great and lasting friendships. At one church, they were so glad we were bringing older kids and not just babies or no children at all. I thought about it, and realized we are probably not the norm, and was a little glad about that. It is neat to see the Lord take our every day family, and perhaps put into the heart of others the possibility that "Yes! I too can let God do what He wants to do!" Perhaps not the norm, but really what is that???

The other blessing is many of them have committed to financially partner with us as well. Every step, while a small one, is still a step forward. We are so amazed at the grace and power of God through all of this! Even the smallest detail that we sometimes might over look or think is a coincidence, we can trace directly to the hand of God himself. That is perhaps the most glorious thing about being a child of God... he will never leave me nor forsake me, and I can rest in KNOWING everything has passed from and through him. Such a place of peace and rest in the midst of this potentially insane and unsettling time in our lives.

There aren't any long distance trips planned for the near future, and I hope to make good use of the time home.

The first order of business is to tackle spring cleaning. To-Do-Lists and purging are necessary things in the next few weeks!

Also, I am purposefully adding to the calendar. I have many families and individuals with whom I desire a social affair... dinner, coffee, shopping, etc... and have learned if it is not scheduled, it will not happen! So it will get scheduled!

*HERE* would be several stunning pictures of different scenery and people from our travels... if I ever would remember to take them. I always remember to bring the camera... and then leave it in the car or my purse! I do have a camera on my phone, so these are from that. Not terrible, but I am sure they wont be getting pirated for any reason!!

In Sumter, SC at Swan Lake. Kind of neat looking... he struck me as one who was all dressed up and no where to go! Click the picture... it is really quite a lovely shot for a cell phone camera!
Again at Swan Lake, Levi toting Savannah around. Such a sweet Older Bro. Although he threatened more than once to dump her in. Typical brotherly love. =o)

I went to a quilt shop with my friend, and fell in love with this one. It may be the only way I will ever see it. Good intentions to one day try to make it... HA!

We went to St Augustine, FL to the Castillo de San Marcos. Gorgeous old battlement dating back to the 1600's.
Overlooking the Atlantic while on the top of the battlement.

Fishing at the pond in the back yard of one of the homes we stayed at. Pretty much the biggest catch right there!

At the same house... some Georgia Bulldog fans! Savannah with their dog Herschel Walker!

Savannah always found treasure wherever we were. Here we are at Tybee Island, GA.

While it was quite chilly, this same day back home there was a blizzard with feet of snow on the ground and more coming by the minute. We were just fine with our jackets while we dipped our toes in the Atlantic!

All in all, while deputation is all of the things we heard it would be, it is also so much more of what we did not hear about. People just want to love on us, and the hospitality we have experienced is nothing short of the Grace of God poured out on us through the saints. Our children struggle a little when we first leave, and then they struggle a little when we return. But I ask myself... what house (especially with teens) doesn't have some struggles? They are truly un avoidable and we are glad these are because we are pursuing Christ and not some temporal thing. They give us opportunities to be thankful and to let God do what he does best... Be God!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Personal Taste...

In the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of staying in several different homes. I also love blogs about decorating, and when I used to go into a home store- be it Home Depot or Pier One- something inside me would just sing.

For the past four years, I have (out of necessity) really shelved my desire for all things homey, as we have sold our home, and now live in a rental. It was just a little too hard to live on a stringent budget, and also justify frivolous spending on a new curtain or chachki that would not travel over the ocean. All purchases over $20. were first tested through a filter in my head... "Would I get the full use out of it before we go to Zambia? OR Would I ship it?" If the answers were no, I would not get it. It has really helped me not have a lot of buyers remorse, but it has also really caused a great loss of "me" in the process. Not me in the person, but in the persona and personality. I look at my home, and it feels rather hap hazard, and actually quite utilitarian to me. Anyone walking in would not perceive this- I am very good at making do. I guess the point is, I feel like I need to have a bit of a shift in my thinking.

So... I have decided to make some conscious decisions about the Future Move to Zambia. When JulieMom went to her field, she made some purchases for her future home and brought them with her. I really loved that she prepared ahead of time for the comfort factor- not that it was over the top, but it was something she knew would make the transition to a foreign CONTINENT just a little easier. I am taking her cue as well as the advice of a few others, and with purpose going to do some searching.

I am not talking about actual items yet either. Quite frankly, I have No Idea what my tastes are right now. We will be bringing over three teenagers and a young woman with us so truth be told, we will be looking at being an empty nesters while on the foreign field. If that doesn't send me over the mental edge of despair... !!! :)

One Big Bonus, I have one of those Great Husbands that really likes whatever I do with our home. He painted our living room Dark Berry. Twice! In Two Different Homes!! Now that is a great guy! That being said, it really is going to be my personal decision about what our home will "feel" like with regard to decorating. In the past three weeks we have been in modern, eclectic, chic and elegant homes. Some were over the top, others were very minimalist. In each one, we both felt comfortable but there were some that were much more our taste. I am very glad to have this opportunity to kind of "live" in different homes short term to really get an ides of what makes us comfortable. I have at times felt like I shouldn't buy anything for our home in Zambia. Certainly a couch that has the comfort factor of a park bench is fine for a foreign field missionary, right?

No, not right. But there is a balance. I don't need to amass copious quantities of fabric and glass items to accessorize new end tables and thousand dollar bedroom sets. I wont be opening a new store credit account at my favorite furniture store with no interest for four years, and then buy enough furniture to furnish my Zambian home... wherever that may be!

What I am going to do is look. For several years I haven't even allowed myself that. I couldn't tell you my preference in color or fabric these days. What is the latest trend in wall treatment, painting technique or photograph collage idea? I have no idea!

But given a little time, I will. And then, with a budget in hand and a purpose in heart, I hope to take the advice and examples from some who have "been there, done that", and eventually have some things to make our foreign house a home.