Friday, March 29, 2013

Instead of you and me


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It was my failures He carried.
It was my guilt that made Him suffer.
He was pierced for my rebellion, crushed for my sins.
He was beaten so that I could be whole.
He was whipped so that I could be healed.

Like sheep, we’ve all left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet God laid all of our sins on Him.
                                      (from Isaiah 53)


Thank You Lord.  Help me remember.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Mature" Mothering


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Source:  I'll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch/Illustrated by Sheila McGraw

What do you call the time in life when you have children who are in their 20’s and you realize your role as ‘parent’ is never really going to be over because you’ll always have those same mothering instincts yet your job as ‘parent’ has completely shifted?

Parenting Past Puberty?

The Empty Nest… With Apron Strings?

I am a member of that club.  Have been for about five years.  I have truly enjoyed this phase of relationship with my girls.  I do think it's interesting that God chose menopause to be the time that we parent this age group.  I've had so many different emotions and thoughts…

From a heart bursting with pride in my daughters to complete terror about their choices.
 
From feeling so honored that they’ve asked for my input to utter frustration when they decide not to do what I’ve suggested. 

From being completely at peace knowing they are in God’s capable grip to lying wide-eyed in bed at 3:00 am trying to figure out their futures. 

Sigh.

All of this leads me to wonder… How did my mom ever survive?  I don’t remember ever asking her advice when I was in my 20’s, although we talked all the time.  After all, I knew so much more than she did.

I think I could save my kids from so many mistakes and lots of grief if they would only ask me what I think they should do!   But I’m reminded of the way we usually learn things – by our own experience, not generally someone else’s.  Is it wise to learn from someone else’s mistakes and knowledge?  Yes.  Do we always do it, even as adults?  Nope.

I want my girls to experience God and His love for them and His power at work in and around them, not just know it in their heads.

So I’m finding that my primary role right now is this:

Love. 
Encourage. 
Listen. 
Pray.  Pray most of all.

Our pastor reminded me of something that I’ve been thinking about ever since he said it.  So often we focus on circumstances when we’re praying for someone – perhaps especially for our children.  “God, please change this situation they’re in!”  But many times a change in circumstance would actually weaken that loved one and going through it is the thing God uses to strengthen them in their faith and knowledge of God.

So Paul’s prayer is such a good one for ‘mature’ mothers like me to pray for their children:

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.   Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT


Sunday, March 17, 2013

All for you



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I have lots to share with you today. There is SO much good stuff on the WWW, isn’t there? It’s easy to get frustrated with the junk but I am always so happy to stumble on something good!

First off, a couple of cool websites…

readnext
What Should I Read Next?
You type in the title or author of a book you’ve enjoyed and up pops a bunch of suggestions for books you might like! 
Who doesn’t need book suggestions?


Wordmark
I got very excited to discover this one!  It’s for people (like me) who have a fascination with fonts. 

(If you don’t happen to, please skip ahead because I know you're thinking 'Who cares what font you use?' Listen, believe it or not, I've heard there are people who actually spend hours searching for and uploading fonts on sites like dafont.com and azfonts.net after reading great posts like this one about how to install fonts on their computer.) 

On Wordmark, you can install a free program via Chrome that will load all the fonts you have installed on your computer.  Then you type in a word or phrase and it displays how that word will look in every font you have!  Isn't that the coolest?  I used my name to show you a screenshot:

wordmark1


Good reading:

when the days are long and the minutes are longer
@Chatting At The Sky
Emily writes so beautifully – as one of her commenters said, “You could write about the color of poo and I’d read it.”  Some days are just plain hard.

i want to be awesome at humility
@the tiny twig
”If I’m honest with you, keeping home has never been a strong suit of mine. Heck, I’ve never been accused of keeping anything well. It pains me to admit that and I’ve fought years against the grain, but it’s probably time to just tell you that I’m more a home maker than a house keeper.”

Imperfectionism – why the cult of Jennifer Lawrence matters
@The Washington Post
”Imperfectionism is something of a cult these days.  I noticed this when I was in my pajamas, perched atop the washing machine in my apartment building’s laundry room, waving my laptop vaguely in the direction of the only unlocked WiFi signal, and instead of being mortified, I was overcome by the urge to tweet about it.”

Forgotten How To Blush
@to Love, Honor & Vacuum
”I think guilt has received a bum rap. We seem to believe that it’s the worst of all emotions and must be avoided at all costs. Personally, though, I like the fact that people feel badly if they do bad things.”

World’s Okayest Mom
@WeAreThatFamily
”Some days I’m an awesome mother–I mean knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark–kind of awesome. But that’s not the norm. I have really bad days where I hide in the bathroom and change all the clocks so everyone goes to bed an hour early. Just kidding, but I’ve seriously considered it.”



And some pictures to look at:




I know this next video is something like you'd get in an email forward (I did) but it's oddly mesmerizing.  Makes me want to listen to classical music more often but also thank the One who designed each of these!



And here's one that reminds me of Disney's California Adventure... with the addition of people waving and shouting at you and some talking that I can't understand which is either Elvish or leprechaun.  



Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries ~ Oh My


BakedSweetPotatoFries HaveACupWithMe

This was a super-easy side dish that’s good for you too!  I didn’t really follow a recipe but I’ll make one for you below.  You’ll be seasoning them to your own liking so you’ll be very nervous if you’re like me and you prefer amounts and measurements.  These came out crispy on the outside and soft inside – my husband loved them.

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Start by peeling your sweet potatoes.  I only used one large one for the two of us.  You can use as many as you’ll eat.  (I think the vegetable I used was technically a yam but ‘yam fries’ sounds sort of… not right.  No one would want to make ‘yam fries’.  I know I wouldn’t.)  Slice them as uniformly as you can so that all the pieces are somewhat the same size and shape and will cook evenly.  Obviously the thinner they are sliced, the crispier they’ll be.

Toss them in a large bowl with olive oil, parsley, oregano and kosher salt until they’re coated.  I was very liberal in my seasonings.  Lay them out on a foil-lined baking sheet so that they don’t touch each other.  Fights will break out if they are touching and you’ll have to move some to another pan.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 425° for about 25-30 minutes, turning once during roasting.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries HaveACupWithMe



Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
Printable recipe here

sweet potatoes or yams
olive oil
oregano
parsley
kosher salt

Peel and slice sweet potatoes into uniform fries.  Toss in a large bowl with oil and seasonings to match your own taste preference.  All the fries should have a light coating of oil.  Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet so that the fries aren't touching each other - that way they'll 'crisp' on all sides.  Bake at 425° for 25-30 minutes, turning the fries once during roasting.  Enjoy!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

1 John 4:16


1Jn416

This is a verse I have been praying because I'm realizing that everything comes back to God's love for me.

Do I want a better prayer life?  It's a response to His love.  He delights in my company, when I freely share my hurts and joys and sorrows.

Do I want to be more bold, more secure, more trusting?  He loves to give me whatever I need.

Do I want to be able to better love the hard-to-love?  He helps me love with His love and to give it without condition or expectation.

Lord, help me to KNOW the love You have for me.  You were completely stripped of all You had for me.  You looked at me and said 'It is even worth hell and separation from the Father to have her as my treasure.'  Choosing me cost You everything.

Help me RELY ON the love You have for me.  Not on the significance or approval I might get from others.  Not on the false security of money in the bank, good circumstances or my own wisdom or ability.  There is only one thing I can count on - and that is Your love.  Help my roots to grow down deep into Your love.
.    

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spring ~ inside and out


All of us living in places where bulbs can be planted look forward to these days in early spring when green leaves poke through the cold dirt and hint at warmer weather to come.  Because we lived in the desert southwest for so many years (almost 17!), I especially appreciate these heralds of spring. Because in the desert there is really only one season - sunny.

Our yard is beginning to bloom – crocus first, but later will come daffodils then tulips, grape hyacinth, Dutch hyacinth and bluebells.

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These bluebells spread like weeds and soon our backyard will be covered in a layer of soft blue (see middle pic in my blog header).

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I meant to plant a few more varieties of daffodils last fall but of course I never think of it until spring.  These will look like the ones in my blog header on the left – that photo came from this little cluster a few years ago.  They are so delicate and lovely!

Of course I’m always eager to bring some of spring into the house.  This weekend I bought two kalanchoe and a maiden fern to make a simple centerpiece.

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You can see I lined a basket with foil, plopped the three pots in and tucked some moss around the edges.

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Wa-la!  An easy, inexpensive centerpiece that will last all spring.

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A couple weeks ago I brought in some twigs that were ready to bloom, stuck them in a vase of water and they’ve lasted beautifully.

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I couldn’t resist a jar of tulip bulbs I saw at C*stco – after they bloom, these will go into a pot in the yard for next year.

I tell myself I am a very thrifty person but when it comes to flowers, I'm a sucker.


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How could I resist these happy yellow primroses? 

Do you have any spring in your house?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Missing her


20beach with Amy
Me, my mom and her first granddaughter


Today marks seven years since my mom was ‘promoted’ to heaven.  I still miss her every day.  I’ve put some of my thoughts and memories of her on the blog here and here.  Rereading those posts makes me tearful but also determined – determined to tell my family how much they mean to me, not just think it.  Determined to give more of myself to them in time and attention.  Determined to appreciate each day I have with them.

It’s so easy to let petty irritations get in the way of loving each other, isn’t it?  Do you ever think (like I do) about the impact of your last words or actions toward your husband or kids if you were to die suddenly?  I don’t think that’s a morbid way to think. 

I want to be mindful of how powerful and freeing and necessary it is to know we are loved.  About how easy it is to focus on what doesn’t matter at all.  And to treasure every day we have with those God has given us to be loved by and to love.


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