Monday, May 28, 2012

Some links on Memorial Day

Potting Bench How-To
@Better Homes & Gardens
I'm seeing so many things you can do with pallets.  I've been wanting a potting bench but not wanting to spend much of anything for it.  This might be my solution.  Does it look kind of rickety?

One Thing That Will Make Your Soul Explode
@Chatting At The Sky
Loved this post about fame and fortune.

Shucking Corn Like A Pro
I loved this man!  Do you think his wife is a blogger and asked her husband to star in this video for her blog?  I wonder if this also works if you grill the corn on the BBQ.  We often microwave corn on the cob in the summer so I can't wait to try it!

Operation Proper Exit
Did you see this on 60 Minutes last night?  I couldn't get through it without many tears and prayers for these men.  A very fitting Memorial Day post - for the living veterans.

Thank you to all those who have served our country,
including living veterans and their families.

We are so grateful.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seen, Heard and Thought

  • When taking my 90 year old dad to get a haircut: 
    Him:  I remember only paying 25¢ for a haircut. 
    Me: How much do you pay now? 
    Him: Ten dollars – and that’s with the senior discount! Regular people have to pay twelve.


  • I do not want to clean out my inbox.  It is overflowing and it must be done but I don’t want to do it.


  • Why do some people love to exercise and I have to use brute force to get myself out the door?  Why can’t I have just a teensy bit of that whatever-it-is? 

  • I am detecting a theme here and it’s not pretty.
  • My kids keep getting older.  Do yours?  My youngest just turned 21, my middle turns 23 next week and my oldest is 25.  This is ridiculous.

  • I’m reading a good book – ‘Peace Like A River’ by Leif Enger.   Wonderful characters.  Excellent writing.  Great story.  How often do you find all three of those??
  • .

  • Today would have been my mom’s 84th birthday.  I was getting dressed this morning, thanking God for her love for me and for her family.  Happy Birthday Mom!  I love you.
28all four generations!
Four generations - my mom is on the right

  • I already have more than enough flowers in the yard – in pots and in the ground.  But I couldn’t pass up these beauties today.  I am a prodigal when it comes to bedding plants.  I’ve never had New Guinea impatiens.  Now I need to find a spot where they’ll get only morning sun.

  • And now I must leave you.  I have work to do.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


So many things in the yard are getting ready to pop…



I love peonies.  I’m always stunned at how beautiful they are.




I thought we had lost our raspberry plants last year and was thankful for the TWO raspberries we harvested.  But they returned – and they’re blooming like mad!


I can’t wait for these to bloom again this year.  These flowers are spectacular!


So for now, there is lots of green in the garden.  But it’s so fun to look forward to lots of color in the next few weeks and through the summer.

I told you here about these hanging pots I got last year.  They start off looking pretty awful before the plants begin to fill out.  But with our warm weather they’re beginning to get fuller – I think they’ll be so pretty!  Soon you won’t be able to see the green plastic pots at all.


Be sure to read this post where I give a guided tour of the crop of weeds we were cultivating last year. 

Monday, May 14, 2012


Today I saw a woman sobbing near the airport security line after saying goodbye to someone.  I instantly felt tears forming and as our eyes met, she tipped her head to the side as if to say "How am I going to make it without him?"  (I was imagining it was a 'him' but it could have been her sister who lives in Santiago who she won't see for another year or her mother who is going to New York for specialized treatment of a rare brain tumor.) Anyway, I sniffed and squeezed her arm as I passed by.

Airports are either places of giddy joy, what with the welcoming and happy hugging, or heart-breakingly sad, as with my poor friend today whose husband was likely deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months.

Do you imagine things about people?  I can make up entire scenarios with very little factual information.  This can lead to trouble if I'm not careful.

Take my neighbor, for instance.  I've seen her husband lose his temper a time or two and so when I noticed a few weeks ago that K was home alone for several days - no husband or kids - I deduced that he had taken the children and went to live with his mother.  Of course logically, it would have made more sense if she had left with the kids but this clearly was not the case.  Then K called me and it turns out her husband took the kids to his parents' house for spring break and she was joining them after going to a meeting she couldn't miss.    SO anyway...

Here's the thing - I should know better than to do this.

Gladys Kravitz

When Jeff and I were first married, we lived across the street from Gladys Kravitz in the flesh.  This dear woman would spend her days peering out her front window and would often report to me all she'd deduced about our neighbors - whose kids were misbehaving, who purchased a new fridge and who had an inordinate amount of company.  Then we became the focus of her snooping.

Jeff was leaving to spend a week at summer camp where he would do the program, meaning he took massive amounts of costumes and props.  He borrowed his parents' station wagon and filled it to the top.  (Google "station wagon" if you don't know what it is.  Google "Gladys Kravitz" too - you have no idea who she is unless you're as old as I am.)  As soon as he turned the corner out of our neighborhood, here came Connie marching across the street, a woman on a mission.

She said she happened to notice (ha!) that Jeff loaded a strange vehicle with all of his belongings and left and she wanted to encourage me to seek marital counseling.

The moral of this story is not to fill in too many blanks when 'casually observing' people.

But at the airport, no one can stop me.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


To have a mother is to have a constant place of love and acceptance.   There are inevitable conflicts and clashes as your mom tries to figure out just how to love you and let you grow up.  (Also because you think you know everything.)  She is a comfort, a refuge and a very safe place to return to over and over. 

four generations

To be a mother means having your heart stretched beyond what you think is possible.  It’s facing up to your short-comings, finding out you know nothing and leaning heavily on God’s grace.  It’s a lifetime (not 18 years) of hopes and prayers and thoughts about the one who came from your womb.  It’s humbling and joyful and hard and rewarding and heart-breaking and immensely fulfilling.  It’s full of little moments that give you renewed strength and joy to counter-balance a few others that can steal your sleep and rob you of every shred of peace.  It’s a gift – an impossibly wonderful gift that never ends. 


baby Lisa May 89011

Amy Lynn006

How grateful I am for the mother God gave to me – and how much I miss her today.

And how thankful I am for the three girls God gave me.  I love them so!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Black Pepper Chicken


Fine gourmet diners that we are, we love Pand* Expr*ss for their inexpensive take-out.  Their black pepper chicken is one of our favorites.  I decided to find a good clone recipe and this one is a pretty close replica.  I’ll tell you right off the top that it will be much easier to drive to the restaurant and order this already chopped, marinated, sautéed in a huge wok and served up hot but it’s fun to try new things, right?  

Black Pepper Chicken

vegetable oil
1½ lb chicken breast, diced into ½” cubes
2 c celery, sliced on bias (I substituted sweet peppers)
1 med onion, chopped
1 c chopped green onion
¼ tsp baking soda
1 Tbl rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbl water
1 Tbl rice vinegar
1 tsp black pepper (they suggest 2 but it was a bit much for us)

Combine all ingredients for marinade and soak the chicken in it for about 15 minutes. 
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Drizzle oil in sauté pan or wok over medium heat.  Cook the chicken until it’s white, drain and set aside. 
Drizzle oil into hot pan and sauté onions, celery and green onions for about 1 minute (you want crunchy vegetables).  Add the already cooked chicken and the sauce mixture into the pan and cook until the sauce thickens.  Serve over steamed rice or chow mein (below).

Chow Mein – Pand* Expr*ss

2 Tbl peanut or vegetable oil
4 scallions, sliced
3 c coarsely shredded napa cabbage
½ c bean sprouts
½ c sliced celery
¼ tsp sugar
1 c chicken broth
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl sesame oil
1 Tbl corn starch, dissolved in 2 Tbl water
red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ lb dry chow mein noodles*

Prepare chow mein noodles according to package directions (don’t overcook!).  Drain, toss with a Tbl of peanut or vegetable oil and set aside. 
Prepare sauce by combining sugar, broth, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.
Heat 1 Tbl oil in wok or large skillet.  Add scallions, cabbage, sprouts and celery; stir fry for about 3 minutes or until vegetables start to wilt.  Remove from pan and set aside.
Add cooked chow mein noodles to wok or skillet and stir fry in 1 Tbl oil until hot and just starting to crisp.  Return vegetables to pan with noodles.  Pour sauce over mixture in wok and stir to coat.
Combine corn starch and water, then add to pan, stirring until sauce thickens.  Season with red pepper flakes to taste and serve.
*Be sure to get Chinese noodles, not Italian pasta – these are made with wheat flour and have a distinct flavor.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Have you seen this?


Birth to 12 years in 2 min 45 sec
This man filmed his daughter every week from birth until she turned 12 years old.  This is exactly what it feels like when I look back on my girls' childhoods - seems like it went by in 2 min 45 sec.

For Those Of You Who Don’t Comment On Blogs
I love this.
Because I love when people leave comments on this blog but find that I rarely do on other people’s blogs.  Isn’t Emily so nice?

What Your Pastor Wants You To Know
I want to do better at supporting my pastor.
These are some great ideas that are TRUE!  I know from experience.

When Courtney Love Died
Saying good-bye to a family pet. Funny.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Look for the Beauty
It’s not always easy being a mom, is it?

Chuck Colson and the Conscience of a Hatchet-Man
@Christianity Today
I appreciated this man so much.  From ‘Born Again’ (read it if you haven’t) to his “Breakpoint’ radio messages, he was a humble and wise Christ-follower after God captured his heart.

And finally, two excellent articles on s.ex before marriage…
Why God Wants Us To Wait Until Marriage For Se.x
Why Wait?
Because IMHO, our culture is imploding over this issue and people’s lives are in tatters.  God never asks us to do something unless He knows it’s for our very best.
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