Monday, April 26, 2010

Healthy Whole & Hopeful

Time for the whole & healthy food update. We started earlier in the year attempting to eliminat processed & refined foods from our diet and replacing them with whole, fresh & organic. In short, as close to the natural form of food as possible. Learning to eat and cook this way hasn't been terribly difficult so much as time-consuming as we slow down and give up the convenience of ready-made.
We are right on track with our initial round of changes. We purchase very few baked goods any more. I make most of our bread and all of our goodies. The bread is time consuming and challenging considering our full time jobs. The weekly goal is two loaves of whole wheat bread, a batch of cookies and one loaf of quick bread. So far, I'm about 80% on track & consider that success. The only baked good we still tend to purchase is bread and we always buy fresh whole grain now.
Pretty much every weekend I make a pot of homemade soup which we have for one weekend meal and then use the rest of the week for lunch. Throughout the week we plan ahead to cook our meals from scratch and often cook more than one meal at a time with common ingredients so they can be easily reheated at the end of a work day.
I have eliminated pop from my diet except for the occasional out to dinner drink and found that with its elimination, my tendency toward headaches is gone as well. I have also cut out artificial sweeteners. In place of refined sugar I usually opt for honey or raw sugar cane. I tried molasses but didn't care for it.
Most of my research indicated that number one, this is a way of life that doesn't have to be 100% to be beneficial. I'd say I hit the mark around 75%-80% of the time and I'm very satisfied with that. I also learned that it takes about six months for one's body to detox and rebalance metabolism and cravings. I have found that to be pretty accurate as well. At this point, unless I let myself become overly hungry, I have virtually no cravings. I haven't had potato chips in a few months and this was a huge weakness for me. It's not that I'm successfully fighting temptation, I simply don't crave them. I don't know the science of it but the theory is that if your body is getting what it needs, it will not send out those craving signals. I have also noticed that I am not feeling hungry as often. And speaking of hunger...
No, I have not lost weight. I decided to concentrate on healthy and once that was mastered, take the lessons learned and apply to them weight loss through portion control and careful choices. This is going to be a change from my former weight loss experience through Weight Watchers. In my WW days, I was eating fewer calories but not necessarily less volume; if that makes sense. I depended heavily on low fat/low sugar prepared foods & snacks. I ate frozen entrees every day for lunch. I did a tremendous amount of supplementing my intake of healthy food by adding processed food. Now I'm learning a new way of life and those low calorie snacks and foods are no longer an option. This leaves a pretty simple formula; portion control, whole grain/high fiber, veggies & fruit. Seems simple but I know it's not going to be easy.
With warm weather around the corner, I think it's a great time to take this to the next level and benefit from outdoor grilling and fresh produce. I know this is possible and I'm feeling very encouraged that all that I hoped would be accomplished has so far been successful. I have about 35 pounds to lose and believe that this is doable with both whole and healthy food and portion control without chemicals, preservatives or additives.
So that's the update! With good decisions and the right attitude I believe that in the Autumn I can submit the next installment on our journey with a smaller number on the scale to celebrate!
Here's to our health!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Everything on earth has its own time and its own season. There is a time for birth and death, for planting and reaping, For killing and healing, destroying and building, for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing, for throwing stones and gathering stones, embracing and parting. There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving, for tearing and sewing,
listening and speaking. There is also a time for love and hate, for war and peace.
And birthday cake.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Unearned Favor

1. My husband.
2. My home.
3. My children.
4. My family.
5. My job.
6. My health.
7. My car(s).
8. Coffee.
9. My friends.
10. My Jesus, my Savior, my Redeemer.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grace & Cookies

I have a friend who is a very successful business woman. Her Facebook status is often about flying here for a meeting or there for a spa retreat or somewhere else for a seminar. And she has fabulous hair and eyebrows. This is my goal for today-make all of my Nestle Toll house cookies come out the same size. My status, so far unsuccessful.
I have another friend who has just begun her doctorate program. Then there's the one with the perfect little face. The one with the flawless skin. The one with the amazing body. The one with the pretty hands. The one with the incredible house. The one who is never grouchy. The one who is constantly making meals for others. The one who prays for hours everyday.
What is the deal with these cookies? Anyway.
There was a time when I was unable to celebrate wonderful things like these in other people. I could be happy for them but I mean celebrate them. To stand back and just applaud the creative miracle of God made flesh in their lives and minds and bodies. To just admire them without comparing myself.
How can 12 rounded tablespoons result in 12 different size and shaped cookies?
I don't know what has changed in me other than the passage of years. To say I've undergone some kind of internal self-improvement plan of prayer and meditation wouldn't be all that true. I think what has happened is just another whisper of grace across my heart. Peace and contentedness come must easier to me than they used to. Sure, I also have the advantage of having grown up kids and a little more money on my side. A settled and happy marriage helps. Still, I credit grace. Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. Without Christ, I might not (would not) have come this far, this whole. This peaceful. Grace smooths out the mistakes and the rough edges whether you specifically recognize you need it or not. Grace puts a soft focus on painful memories and makes me able to walk through life with hands stretched open; letting anger fall away and collecting joy and laughter in its place.

Now I can look at these successful, beautiful, sweet, kind, sexy, determined, smart women with the same eyes that admire a waterfall, a summer sky or a perfect lilac. I see through the same eyes that look into the mirror every morning and the same thought comes to mind for all of it.

Look what God has done.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eye Cookies, I mean Candy

Yes it's Wednesday and no, I am not back to work yet. Tomorrow! Tomorrow for sure!
Today let's talk about one of my favorite favorites. Homemaking. I know, you had no idea. Although I'm not a tech fan, I have found my own little niche on the internet and it is that of those similarly minded. No, I'm not connected to nurses or middle-agers or Republicans or conservatives or even shared faith sites. I find myself, through no particularly intentional design, friends with women I've never met who all comment furiously when one of us mentions a new recipe or paint color decision.
So in between dramatic sighs of boredom and philosophical discussions with Donny about forsythia hedges I've done a bit of internetting the last few days to various blogs or sites to admire homes, decorating, gardening, etc. Although I spend lots of time thinking and blogging about bread recipes, soup and gardens; I have another homey weak spot. Eye candy.
I'm not all about function, although living in a very small bungalow requires the marriage of form and function if one is to avoid living in Grey Gardens minus the charming insanity. (We don't lack insanity so much as charm.)
I like old stuff. Stuff that I can either imagine in its former life in some other woman's kitchen or stuff that I specifically remember from my childhood. I'm more likely to make an impulse antique purchase than one at a department store. I believe in using my olde time treasures although admittedly, I can get a little worried that a break or a chip of a platter that is 40 years old cannot be easily replaced. Something I've realized about old stuff, it almost can't be ugly. It's like there is a line in time when an item goes from out-dated to charming. I like to think I too, have crossed that line. Wink.
For instance, I have this ugly platter. I bought it at an antique shop in Lewiston, where my parents cottage is located. Every year I buy a little something at that shop and rarely pay more than $10. This platter brings to mind late 1960s. It may be older, it might be a school project from 1998. But it's funky and I have decided it's old and probably worth a million dollars. Maybe not the million dollars part but it's funky and old. It's not pretty. But it's interesting, you gotta admit it's interesting.
I have a green candy dish on my desk I bought at the same shop. I am pretty sure it is simply a dish garden container from Thrifty Florist and I paid $1 for it. It's worth much less than $1. However, it's pretty on my desk and it reminds me of Up North and if it breaks, well, I can live with that.
I have other items that were on The Farm or belonged to my mom or grandmothers. Those I treat with a bit more caution but I still love to use them and enjoy them.
But eye candy can be more than antique glassware or vintage platters. Eye candy is a slice of lemon in my water and the forsythias along my fence and the blue souvenir goblet on my bathroom vanity where I put my face cloth.
It's the giant basket of books next to my bed. This is eye candy because it's something that I love, not because it's pretty.
Eye candy is family photographs all over that exceed the number that would be considered decorative and old afghans on my couch. It's the old rooster from The Farm and bird feeders.
It's the sock monkey night light in my kitchen.
So tell me, what are you loving looking at today?
Pic: Ugly valuable Up North cookie dish.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Public Service Announcement!

When you're home sick but just enough better not to sleep constantly, there are a limited number of things that you can do to pass the time. Having a first floor laundry, I got some wash done. That was fun.
Not really up to standing in the kitchen kneading dough or making cookies, and not entirely sure anyone would want to eat goodies baked by a sneezing snotting chef.
Reading would be number one except I returned my library books but didn't get any new ones and it kind of hurts my eyes and head after a few minutes.
Television is...ridiculous.
On the bright side, I come to you with a product endorsement.
I'm sure I'm not alone in realizing that flip flop weather is soon upon us and further realize that one must take foot care seriously if one is going to ask the world to look at one's feet. There are far too many people running around with their feet all hanging out who should be wearing thick socks and a pair of construction boots. All of this to say that I gave myself a pedicure in preparation for warm weather, you mustn't wait until May to begin this process. That done it was time to pay attention to my hands as well. Being a nurse, it's really quite impossible to keep nail polish in good repair and chippy nail polish is second only to pedicure-needing feet in terms of grossness. So I rarely wear polish on my fingers. However, that does not mean a manicure is not in order, even if it is polish free. So I discovered the above product at the Target. Actually I purchased "Trim" brand for about $2. It's a four-sided block that shapes, buffs, smooths and shines the nails.
Ladies, this is the product of the day!
Follow the directions, each side of the block is numbered 1-4. The final result is smooth shiny perfect nails without polish. Natural yet manicured nails.
This might not seem blog worthy to you but three days into sitting on the couch drinking tea, it's the most exciting thing in my world after putting on a bra.
And seriously, do not neglect the mani-pedi!

This is one of those days that makes me go grrrrrrrrr. It's a called-in-sick day. I truly despise calling in to work. I started feeling cruddy on Saturday night but I was working the weekend so I pushed through knowing on Monday I could recoup and presuming that by Tuesday I'd be back in business. Sigh. Nope. Here I am at home. Boyohboyohboy. My bread & cookie baking Monday didn't happen, nor did the errand running I planned.
It's so pretty outside and here I sit in my robe with my tissues and tea at my side feeling grumpy. This would be a great day for a million things except being home sick!
Now it's Plan C, surely on Wednesday I will be back in business!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Another weekend of working just came to a close, 25 minutes ago to be exact. My allergies eyes have become sore throat and body aches. Spring cold or allergy?

So here's my plan for the evening, sipping warm tea and lounging until bedtime. No matter how old I get, there are still these wonderful moments of peaceful sleepiness that are just so lovely. Even if you do have an allergy or a spring cold.

When the bed feels so welcoming and the sheets are so soft and the pillows just ease all the tension out of your muscles.

That's the kind of sleep I'm expecting tonight.

So sweet dreams to you. And a very sleepy evening.

Isaiah 51:3
For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Proposed Outdoor Project List

1. Patio or deck extension.
2. Water feature.
3. Herb garden.
4. Veggie garden.
5. Berry garden.
6. Sunflower garden.
7. Perennials.
8. Privacy fence phase one.
9. Forsythia hedge phase one.
10. Gardening shed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How I spend my day off or How women's lib has imprisoned me.

I'm sure I've talked about this before so feel free to move along if you're not a fan of reruns.
Am I the only working woman who feels that there's not enough time in your time off to do things right? If I really attend to the home front the way that I want to, there is very little leisure time for leisure. It's more like paid or unpaid time. I am fortunate to be able to report that I really do enjoy the homemaking part of my life so in some ways, this is leisure for me. At least it's time to pay attention to what really gives me the most satisfaction. But there still isn't enough of it.

A few weeks ago my mom and I spent the day bumming around in search of cookware for our new whole & homemade lifestyle. That was a fun day, out to lunch and being like a couple of 1954 housewives. But I can't do that on a regular basis because there are so many other housewife duties to tend to.
I need to do some baking, some cleaning, some organizing, some yard work, some shopping for food, produce, garden supplies...And there is a secret about shopping, you spend more if you've got less time for it. I don't even like to shop but I realize that if I am going to conserve time with one-stop-shopping, I'm not getting many bargains. Not to mention the utter luxury of antiquing or thrifting where I know treasures await-but I haven't an entire day to devote.
So here I sit on the morning of my day off already on the clock. I need to do many things and know already they can't all be done. I'm prioritizing so I'll get enough accomplished to keep the home front moving forward.
Sadly, what is lost along the way are the things that we have to decide are least productive. Sitting on the deck on a cool morning lingering over coffee. Bumming around with your mom or a friend just exploring what kind of stuff is out there-to buy or just admire. Long drives with no particular destination. Leisurely walks around the neighborhood. Hours in the library. Talking to neighbors over the fence.
Sure, all of these things get their time here and there, but so often they are too far down the list to be reached in a day off.
Today I will clean house, bake, do laundry and go to the grocery store. I will probably drop off my library books but to have time to linger and choose some new ones; not sure. I'll need to iron work clothes for the next few days. That will fill up this day off. And probably leave me pretty tired. That's another thing that falls off the list, rest. At least I've learned a lesson there. This is the very reason I retire to bed fairly early with a book. I know that rest cannot be taken off of the list.
Somehow, I don't feel very liberated.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Here we are, Thursday evening. The evening designated to bathroom cleaning and linen changing. To straightening up the house while the Mr. is at practice.
Alas, I fear I am succumbing to laziness.
Here I sit, home from work for an hour and having eaten dinner with absolutely no desire to do the Thursday chores. In fact, worse yet, I have a shameful temptation to do NOTHING whatsoever except paint my toenails and lay in bed listening to the birds through the open window. Shocking!
I haven't had such a busy day. It was a good day actually, got all the to-dos done. I'm not really tired. I'm almost just ridiculously relaxed. And! And I am seriously considering doing absolutely no housework at all and telling myself, "Let somebody else do it!" I never tell myself that! I usually rather enjoy it. What's my deal tonight?
The Mr. is off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday is chock full of doctor's appointments and errands with his parents. But this weekend I'm working and I am feeling very much like he can just take care of the place this week.
What to do, what to do?
What's that? Nothing? I should do nothing?
Well, I just can't do nothing. I'm going to paint my toenails.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I scream

So here I sit in pajamas with no dinner. I ate some trail mix late in the day which took the edge off of my hunger. I texted Dean that we should go out but now I don't want to. Here's what I want. I want to eat ice cream for dinner.

Is that really so wrong?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dream, Dream, Dream

On Saturday we went to the Novi Home & Garden Show. There were a few stands with fresh flowers and plants; this friends, is my strongest weakness. Seriously, where did this little problem of mine come from? I could spend every penny we have on plants and not be done. Veggies, herbs, flowers, ground cover, succulents, ferns, berries, shrubbery, evergreen...I love it all! I even took several minutes to talk myself out of a tiny tiny topiary.

I wanted to buy some blueberry bushes & forsythias but despite the guy's reassurance, I know it's too early in Michigan to put those tender little roots into the ground. I'll wait until late April, make my purchases and probably keep them potted on the deck until May. But I can't hardly wait! In the Little House books there were passages about the Ingalls family sitting in front of the fire during snowstorms looking at seed catalogs and planning their gardens. That's how I am minus the pioneer spirit and lack of cable!

On the short list...forsythias to plant along my southern fence. I love love love forsythias! They are so farm housy and mid century suburbia. I love unfussy landscaping and every spring when I see the yellow blooms I am amazed all over again. Then it's berry plants. I planted two raspberry bushes last year. No fruit the first fall which is to be expected, keeping fingers crossed that they come back. This year I'll add blueberry. I understand that in order to really get good results I'll have to pay attention to the soil acidity. I never understand that. These things used to grow wild!

Ahhh, just a few more weeks and I can satisfy my urges!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This is what happened.

The Mr. & I had reservations at a bed & breakfast in Irish Hills on Friday night but ended up in a hotel. We've gone to a few B&Bs, which offer a variety of experiences. We don't want the true B&B experience of shared bathrooms and one big breakfast table. Many people choose B&Bs to meet other people and spend hours together getting to know one another. That's lovely, but it's not us. We choose the lodgings that offer private bathrooms. We like the older homes and the ambiance with a few modern amenities. So we had reservations at this old manor that was absolutely beautiful. No doubt about it, one of the prettiest settings I've ever seen. An old white mansion on a lake, what could be better?
The room we requested was the most expensive, $139/night. This was for a room with a jacuzzi tub. Like I said, older home with modern amenities.
When we arrived we were escorted through the owner's living quarters and up a flight of stairs from their kitchen to our room. A room directly above their kitchen and in fact, we could very clearly hear them speaking downstairs after we shut the door. There was a jacuzzi tub with a sign that said no use after midnight. This reaffirmed by theory that there was a sound issue. The cable was out, only a few local channels. Seems like not a big deal but spending the night out in the country with no restaurants nearby and a pretty cold wind blowing, we expected to snuggle in and watch a little TV. We were a bit disappointed with the room itself. Water stains on the ceiling, it seemed drab and in need a little freshening. The bed pillows were flat and the quilt was dingy. And then the straw that broke the camel's back; no shower. What? The website stated private baths in each room, I never thought to ask specifically for a shower!
We weren't there half an hour when we concluded that we didn't care to stay. Especially not at the $139/night rate, which is high by B&B standards.
We went downstairs to the owners to let them know that the room wasn't what we had hoped for and told them exactly what our concerns were and Dean offered them $20 or so for the cancellation. Well, that wasn't going to do. No, we were being charged $139. Despite the information half an hour earlier that we were the only guests during a very slow season, the hostess now informed us that they had refused two other requests for that room for us. Hmm. Well, we felt there was no privacy for our romantic get-away in a room situated directly above their apartment. If we can hear them, they can hear us. And we didn't know there was no shower. Her response was that they never had a complaint before and we could "use the shower down the hallway." No, not for $139 am I going to wander through the house looking for a shower and trying to keep my voice quiet so as not to disturb the people directly under us.
Finally she relented and changed the rate to $135. Wow. I informed her that we were very disappointed not only in the accommodation which was not clearly described on their website but moreso that she was insisting on the entire room rate. This is not typical of B&B experiences and her attitude was devoid of customer service altogether. There was no offer of a reduced rate, the option of choosing another room, nothing.
Dean gave her the cash and as we turned to go saying we were so disappointed in the entire experience the host said, "Yeah, and you're leaving a whole lot poorer too."
Well, that did it.
This woman was a nurse, I had learned while making reservations on the phone. I turned back and said I would think that in the interest of professional courtesy and good business there should be some effort for us to try to meet one another halfway. Additionally, although I would not necessarily criticize the house itself, as I said B&Bs come in many styles; I would expect any inn keeper would want to please their guests and her response to our displeasure would be noted in a review I would add to the website that had referred us to their establishment.
At this point the woman shoved $60 at me without a word and shut the door.
In short, we spent $75 not to stay.
I am willing to accept that there are B&B guests who would not have had a problem with the accommodations and so I really didn't think that the hosts were entirely in the wrong at first. I believed that the lack of a shower should have been disclosed and that the utter lack of privacy should be acknowledged if it bothers the guest. However, the incredibly rude response was the source of my anger.
Ultimately, we left and checked into a hotel with a jacuzzi tub in the room. We went out for a wonderful dinner and had a great evening. I did post a review of our experience. Of course, I'm thankful that we could still afford a hotel room having lost $75. And I'm grateful for the great time we ended up having. Most of all, I find myself most peaceful about the fact that this didn't ruin our weekend. What a wonderful gift from God to have the ministry of the Holy Spirit to allow us to put the unpleasantness behind us and just enjoy one another. This could have put a damper on everything sending us home in anger.
The moral for us?
Never check in without first seeing the room.
Never presume that what you see is what you get.
When in doubt, choose Holiday Inn over B&Bs!
Even if things go wrong, let it go and move forward. Your joy comes from God and never from your wallet or your surroundings. Give anger no place in your heart.

Psalm 72:5-7
They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

What's so good about it?

Some years ago the Mr. and I started a habit. Every evening when we come home from work, even if it's 4:00 p.m., we put on our pajamas immediately. Once pajamaed we make dinner and most evenings, we pop in a DVD of whatever old television show we're currently watching. Ahh.
I was inspired with this tradition when watching the old Hepburn & Tracy movie, Adam's Rib. In the movie, the two are lawyer spouses who end up on opposite sides of a case. They spend the day in court battling one another but come home at night, change into their pajamas and settle back into their life together, in love, with the day behind them. Every time I watched the film I would think how lovely that seemed, Tracy & Hepburn sitting together in their pajamas at their kitchen table eating dinner together. And then I thought, well I've got pajamas & a kitchen table!
Ever since then Dean & I have immediately put on pajamas when we get home. I'm quite sure he's got no idea that's why, but it is.
Today it's pretty cold around these parts, especially considering the almost-Spring weather we've been having. There's lots of grousing about the chilly winds and the typical degree of irritation that accompanies most work days.
It might make me wonder what's good about a dreary cold day like today. Well, I will tell ya what's so good about it. Having a way to switch gears and come back to my real life. Sure, tonight it's flannel pajamas and slippers but that's ok. As soon as my scrubs hit the clothes hamper and I slid into my fleece robe, it was a good day.
So; what do you do to put away the day?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Today right now...

Easter weekend brings with it huge moments of awe and gratitude for amazing sacrifice of Christ on behalf of the very humanity that rejected him. The Bible tells of the temple veil being torn in two when Jesus died signifying our entrance into the presence of God. I think the tearing of the temple also gave those who accept his sacrifice new eyes to see all that this abundant life means. This morning I find myself quietly grateful for-
The rainy (but not stormy) night that just passed, windows open and almost too lovely to sleep through. In fact, I didn't sleep all the way through but somehow, laying quietly and experiencing the night seemed almost more restful.
Hot coffee (you had to see that coming!) and pretty coffee cups.
Donny laying with his head in my lap as I enjoy aforementioned coffee.
Text messages that I receive when I turn on my cell phone in the morning, sent by the Mr. while I was still sleeping.
My truck with a full tank of gas that makes the drive to work almost fun!
Coconut lime verbena body spray from Bath & Body Works, smells like springtime!
The sound of birds singing as I awaken.
This isn't the unabridged list, it only represents the things that right now, I am thankful for.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

This Easter

How life changes. As I write this it is Easter Sunday morning at 9:30. The Mr. left for church almost 2 hours ago, he'll be there until about 3:00 and then he'll go spend some time with his parents. Mac is still asleep, I suspect Jay is too but he sleeps in his own home now. It's just me with my second cup of coffee and Shirley Temple on AMC. It's one of those beautiful crisp and sunny Michigan Spring mornings, mmm. Windows open just a crack because it's not exactly warm but I am inhaling the fresh air like the sweetest perfume.
I just put my croissants in the oven to rise for a few hours before baking. Once my coffee is finished I'll make pilaf to take to Amy's for dinner, transfer it to a crockpot to keep it warm. My chocolate bundt cake is done and I'm deciding how to complete it; glaze, chocolate drizzle, powdered sugar or an experimental strawberry glaze? Decisions decisions decisions. Then if I'm really adventurous I'll go out to the garage where a good portion of my housewares still reside in boxes to try to find my fancy pedestal cake plate with lid. Wow, I got that at my wedding shower in 1986!
Since then we've had such lovely Easter Sundays with little boys in new clothes and sunrise services and Easter baskets and if it wasn't snowing, the occasional egg hunt. The only grands, my kids were the recipients of Easter baskets on top of Easter baskets from grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents. Their childhoods were filled with "Up From The Grave He Arose!" and Sunday School teachers in bright dresses and corsages. It was good, it was the best way to grow up.
Today my grandparents who spent all of those years eating ham with those little boys are spending Easter with Jesus. Dean is playing bass for all five of our church's Easter services, starting last night and continuing through this afternoon. Jay and I went last night to church, Mac will go today with his girl Lexi. At 2:00 we'll meet at my sisters for dinner. Well, most of us. Dean will go to his parent's after church to spend some time with them because they aren't well enough to join us for dinner. Then he'll install the new door alarm we hope will stop his dad's wandering. I made some craisin bread to take over and his grandmother will be sharing dinner with them. The quiet and small celebration is a change from 40 years of 20 guests around a formal table for them. Still holding on to what is left, his mom wanted to make their own dinner with a Honeybaked Ham and her special sweet potatoes.
How life has changed. Dean and I are spending Easter apart because his service to church and his parents require that this is how it is this year. No Easter baskets wait on our kitchen table for little boys. I won't say there isn't some sadness for the time that is truly gone. But it's a small sadness. Much smaller than the happiness of memories for a lifetime done right. Not perfectly! But right, with Jesus and family at the center and no missed opportunities.
This year we're doing it right too. Different, but right. Jesus and family remain at the center and we have grown up enough to know that Christ brings blessing after blessing. I'm going to finish up this coffee and make that pilaf now. The Mr. just texted during a break at church that he loves me and he'll see me this evening. I don't have a new Easter dress, but I did buy a pink t-shirt from Old Navy! I don't mourn but sit with a silly smile on my face all alone in my kitchen.
Oh how lovely this life has been, handed to me with such extravagance! And oh how lovely this life is, today.
There is no "Up From The Grave He Arose" with an entire pew of grandparents and little boys this morning.
But in my quiet house a chorus swells...Great is they faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Happy Easter.
Pic: Easter 1991, Grampa Gerhardstein & Daboyz

Coming Back From The Dead!

Psalm 20:7-9
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but WE ARE RISEN, and stand upright.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Saturday...

...always feels like the earth is holding its breath.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

William Cowper

Thursday, April 01, 2010

He Never Lets Go

Well this long week is finally coming to an end. And not a minute too soon! The last week has had some highs and lows but most of all left me so thankful for the anchor of Christ that holds us steady, although sometimes it feels pretty rocky in the moment! Perhaps most of all I find myself in awe of the perfect provision of God. If we had faced the challenges in our lives a few years ago, our rebound time might have been much longer. It can only be the love of God that makes sure the good always outweighs the bad.
For instance, last Friday I was off because I worked the weekend. Somehow a few hours of errand running with Dean's parents turned into about 9 hours which meant we had no time together at all. Saturday I worked and he played at church in the evening. Sunday I worked and by Sunday night I was exhausted and to top it off, injured myself at work. Of course, what else could I do at this point except have insomnia? And Dean back to work on Monday despite the fact that it was my day off.
And here the Holy Spirit makes up for the large and the small that we lose, Dean got up and decided to take a vacation day to make up for our lost Friday. Such a simple thing but by midnight Sunday my non-sleeping self was feeling pretty bereft and pitiful.
Wednesday evening Dean's dad had an MRI appointment which had us out until 9:30 and tonight Dean is at practice. I'm hoping to get off of work around 3:00 and maybe have a little date night? But it's the Friday errands with The Folks so...Lord give me a patient heart and remind me that you give back more than we can give up.
Saturday will be spent cooking and cleaning house. Sunday is Easter which means joy, celebration, family and a long day at church. The Mr. will be there from about 8-3:00. And then Monday and then Tuesday and then another whole week.
It's ok because we have learned to always find our way back to one another and to rest and it is in that spirit that we are going here next weekend.
So color me tired and happy and inpatient and grateful and exhausted and energized and overwhelmed and confidant.
Sleep tight my friends!