Friday, April 18, 2014

Still Her Little Child

Maria!

Today is Maria's birthday!

I could not be more proud of this lovely daughter of our's. 

She is tender, talented, kind, funny and has such a beautiful spirit it simply lights her up. She is a great friend, a delightful mother and a dear daughter.

Have a happy day, Maria!

We love you!



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday - Washing Thursday

Tonight we observe Maundy Thursday at our church. The word "Maundy" is about "washing" as tonight one of the things we read about is Jesus washing his disciples feet. This occurred the night they were celebrating the Jewish Passover. This is such a powerful passage with so many lessons within!

When Jesus was washing his disciples feet, Peter at first refused. I expect he felt that it was wrong for the Son of God to be bent down over his own dusty, dirty feet. At his refusal, Jesus told him that if he wasn't washed by Jesus, he would have no part of him. That must have sounded mysterious to Peter but he immediately agreed to the washing and in fact, offered his entire body for Jesus to wash!

These guys did not yet understand what all was going on there. How could they? But Peter knew he wanted to be totally washed by Jesus if that was what would draw him nearer. Isn't that what we all need, to be totally washed by Jesus? Not only for the cleansing of our sins, but to draw us near to him, to be a part of him.

John 13:1-17

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him,and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

This is one of my favorite songs and it goes well with these verses. I hope you enjoy it as well.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sour Dough Tutorial I Mean Explosion!

Every now and then I get it into my head that I should be like an 1890 prairie woman and should do more things from scratch. Recently, I had one of those moments and decided I need to have my own sourdough starter. So, like any good prairie woman, I went onto Pinterest to find out how to do that. Actually, back in my farm wife days I had sourdough starter by that was so long ago, I'd forgotten.

Well, as it turns out, I am very good at it. VERY, VERY GOOD.

I went with the first recipe I found. I told me to mix together 2 cups of warm water, 1 package of yeast, 2 cups of flour and a bit of sugar if I wished. The sugar speeds up the process. That seemed like a good idea as it takes several days of sitting out on the counter before it is ready. It did warn to go easy on the sugar. I thought I did.

So, naturally, being the farm wife 1890's prairie woman that I am, I first went to Walmart to get a cool jar for my starter. You don't seal a lid on starter, but I thought I could just fold that little hinge dealy inward so the lid would remain loose. When you are not wanting to use sourdough on a daily basis, you can keep it in the fridge and I thought the lidded jar would be great for those days. I mixed it all up. The recipe says you don't need to worry about the lumps as they will disappear. My jar seemed about right, with room for the dough to bubble up nearly double its original size.



 So far, so good.
I had purchased two of those sweet jars
so I could start some for Maria as well.
Did she WANT to also be an 1890's homesteader person?
I don't know but it seemed she might.

 I covered the starter with a cloth just as directed.
I'd let it set 2-5 days, just as the recipe said.
All I had to do was stir it once a day during that time.
I set a pie tin under it, just in case it dribbled a bit.

 One hour later,
yes,
ONE HOUR LATER,
I came back to this!


Anyone need some sourdough starter?

A few other things you may want to know...

You can maintain sourdough on your counter at room temperature as long as you "feed it" equal amounts of water and flour, stirring it in daily. You also should be taking some out every day if you do that. Use what you take out for a recipe or give it to a friend (but be careful, they may unfriend you), or throw it out. I don't like the idea of waste. Also, if we go on vacation someday I don't want to have to find a sourdough sitter, so I'm going with plan "B". I will keep it in the fridge (you can do that for several months) between uses.

If you are interested in making some sourdough starter, you should probably just click here for a REAL tutorial. There you will find out about Hooch, why you may not want to use tap water, and how to freeze your starter. 

You may want to opt out of using sugar... I'm just sayin'.










Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Chaos

Yes, I realize I didn't include any people pictures in my Monday post. Not to worry (I'm talking to you Grandma Grace, Grandma Carol and Alaysha!) as I did indeed take some during Mike's birthday celebration. There was a LOT of chaos, but it was all fun.

Early on Elise decided to spell some words on the fridge.
She's really smart, you know.

 Cordelia was ready for a good time; you can see it in her eyes!

Elise wanted to be a butterfly.
She stuck with that plan until it was time to go home.

There were multiple basset hounds.

 Laura (borrowed family member, as Maria put it) looks
innocent here but she can hold her own with this crazy group.


By the way, click here for some better photographs from the evening.
Maria & Eric got some nice ones of Mike.
Mine of him did not turn out so well,
probably because he put a curse on my camera
or something since I disobeyed him and posted photos of him
against his will.  Whatever.

I am aware this is a poor photo but it captured a fine moment.
While Wii bowling was going on, Sam kept obliging Elise 
as she  requested to fly. A butterfly needs to fly, you know!
This went on long enough for Sam to get a good work-out up 
and down the hall and around and about the upstairs.

Sam is a good sport!

Eric taught Cordelia to Wii Bowl.
Doesn't that just make you want to say, "Aaaah"?

Then there was this...

Elise, once again begging Sam to make her fly.
Admit it.
You couldn't turn that face down, now could you?

And Sam, once again, obliging.

When Sam was exhausted, Laura stepped up to the plate.

Sam got to sit, at least for a bit.

And that, my friends, is another crazy
family night for the record books.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Frosting Inside and Out

Yesterday was not a very spring-like day here. Or maybe it was. Spring often looks like this around here. No matter that we think Spring should be all fresh green and growing things. Well, we do have some of that but yesterday it was covered, frosted with snow.


We had padded seating, complete with good lumbar support, on our deck.


Nevertheless, we had a nice little family celebration last evening in honor of Mike's birthday.  One of the things my husband really likes for his birthday is for me to make cupcakes in ice cream cones. He remembers his Mom making them when they got their first microwave oven. The texture of cake and ice cream cone together is not a big thrill for me but he likes it. So, here is how I made them...

I used an ordinary cake mix but since Maria and Eric and girls are vegan, I needed to avoid the use of the eggs called for in the cake directions. No problem. I keep egg replacement on hand.


 It is easy to use. 
It tells you right on the box how much powder to mix with a small amount of water, 
based on how many eggs you are replacing. Mine called for three eggs.
I mixed the replacer up then added it to the cake mix.


 I put the cones in my mini muffin pan.
They fit just right.
I filled them up, not all the way to the top, though.
I made that mistake before and it makes a big mess!


 Don't tell Mike, but I put them in the oven.
It is tedious to do them one at a time in the microwave
and I don't usually get them quite right.
As you can see they don't really turn out quite
right for me from the oven either.


 That is what frosting and sprinkles are for!
I opted to skip the sprinkles on a few of them and sprinkled on sea salt instead.
THAT was a moment of genius if you ask me!


 When it came time to serve them, 
I decided to carry them to the table while they 
still stood in the muffin tin.
It seemed like a good idea 
but I didn't get more than a few inches 
off the counter before nearly 
every one of them tipped over! 
Some ended up on the floor!
They'd become quite top heavy!

Then, instead of crying, I 
went over the edge, 
meaning I laughed so hard I
could barely breathe!


Eventually, I stuck a candle in one and brought it to my dear man
for the song-singing/candle-blowing/wish-making moment.
It was all good.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Mike!


It is Mike's birthday!

Yippeeeee!

Wooooo Hooooo!

April 13th is one of the happiest days of the year for me!

Yea, sure, that was the day my beloved was born and all that.
Yep, I'm so very glad he was born.

Here's the deal, though.
For eight M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E weeks
each year, I am older than Mike.
Being the funny guy that he is, he 
reminds me over and over and over 
that I am the elderly one.

That's not a very gentlemanly way for him to behave
but you are likely not too surprised by this if you read
about his obnoxious behavior here.

Mike didn't appreciate that post.

He was downright pouty about it.



After that post he forbade me,
yes,
FORBADE 
me,
from ever mentioning his name or using his photo on my blog again! 

Oopsy!

Anyway...

Let me be serious for just a second...

Mike is thoughtful and caring.

Mike is a man of deep integrity.

Mike has a tender heart.

Mike makes me laugh.

I have a deep respect for this man, my husband, but
when he forbade me from using his photo, I had to go back
through old photos to choose some of my favorites.















Relax.

He'll forgive me; he wears a cross...


 ...and he's so handsome.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Cup is Overflowing


I was going through old photos again tonight. I came upon this one...


I think I was just trying to get photos of the drops of water hanging on that evergreen tree. They were sparkling and pretty. I didn't get any very good close-ups on those drops so I was disappointed with this photograph. However, looking back now, I really like it. There, in the background, the sun was putting on a pretty good show and I wasn't even paying attention to it! I was just focusing (pun intended) on my disappointment over the little drops photo I'd planned.

I wonder how much else I miss in life, what kind of  beauty do I overlook, just because my plan hasn't always gone perfectly? I have some things in my life that have not gone exactly as I thought they should, but in the background of my life, there is so much beauty, so much abundance. 

One of my goals recently has been simply to live a life of more gratitude. I've been given so much, a loving family, useful work, great friends, more than enough food, a home that surpasses my needs, and so much more. My cup is overflowing.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Mean Pastor and Our Spray Bottle

Sometimes, when I don't know what I want to blog about, I look through photos to see if I can find something I think you should see. This is one of those times. Let me give you  some background information first.

It started with Bode.

Bode is naughty. Sometimes he is really naughty. Oh sure, he is sweet and lovable and all that, but he can be really, really naughty. My first tendency is to holler at him when he is doing something he should not, like eating plastic things. As it turns out, hollering does not much affect this particular canine.

Then, we were told about the spray bottle. Maria and Eric taught us about use water for discipline purposes, I think. They found it very effective for keeping their bassett hounds from jumping up on them. Apparently we are too cheap to get more bottles so we use the one I keep for ironing clothes. Let'a get real. It doesn't see that much action by the ironing board anyway.

The spray bottle works great on Bode! All I usually have to do is hold it up  for him to see it and he settles right down. However, I often can't remember where we last set it down, but that's another story.

Anyway, this post isn't really about Bode. It is about Mike. My dear, sweet, saintly (ha!) husband uses it more often than he should! And he doesn't just use it on the dog. When I took this photo, he was threatening me with the squirt bottle! That just isn't right, is it? He doesn't just threaten us, either. I have lost count about how many times I've felt the startling cold, streaming bullet as it was aimed at my.....  self. He even shoots his sweet little granddaughters with it! I'm not kidding; he is ruthless!

Maybe you shouldn't mention this to people in our church. It might blow his pastor image!



Tuesday, April 08, 2014

In a Hurry

I have been rushing around so much lately! Like pretty much everyone else I know, I'm always complaining that I am more busy than I should be. Of course, it is no one's fault but my own. The problem is, there is just soooooo much I want to do!

One thing I've noticed about myself when I get too busy is that I start making silly mistakes. Do you do that?

For instance...

Like I've told you before, I have a job where I am on the phone a lot now. As it so happens, I often have to leave phone messages for patients to return my call. I don't really know why they let me do that job because really, leaving messages is not my best thing. Something about knowing I'm being recorded just kind of puts my brain on hold. Well, one day I was leaving a message and I don't think I was sounding too bad until I left my call back number. All of a sudden I realized I had just given the number for the patient to call back. As I was looking at her paperwork at the time, and instead of giving my number, I asked her to call her OWN number! THEN, I giggled. That always sounds professional, don't you know.

Yesterday I worked a long day, starting with an educational deal-y-o at 6:30 a.m. It was about 5:00 p.m. when I rushed into our house. I needed to cook something for a quick supper as I had a meeting to attend after dinner. I try to have a good plan in place for such instances but last night, I did not. I threw open the fridge door, hoping to find something yummy that perhaps I'd cooked while sleep-walking the night before. No such luck. What I did find, though, made me laugh.


Apparently, when cleaning up the night before, I'd felt our plastic wrap needed to be kept chilled.

Maybe I should slow down just a bit.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunday at Church

Today was a special day at church.
We had a children's program, which meant there
were a lot of parents there with a lot of cameras.
That also meant I could take photographs freely.

I love Sundays.
I love being at church.
I am there an hour early to 
practice singing
on the worship team. 
It is one of my favorite times of the week!

Our son-in-law, Eric, sings on the Worship Team with me.
I love that.
He also plays bass guitar.
He also plays drums.
Not all at once, but he is certainly one talented guy!







Cordelia was in the program and couldn't have been sweeter. She told us she felt a little scared but she enjoyed it. I loved that she waved to me during the program.

Maria and Elise were enjoying it all.


Apparently Cordelia's star power was blinding to Elise.


 It was easy to take photos of my man.
I made it look like I was just taking pictures of the children.
I'm pretty sneaky that way.


Sam always, always arrives late for church.  Always.
He was pretty surprised when I turned and snapped his photo!


And here she is, our favorite little performer!
That face always makes me smile!