Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good Night Weekend

Too quickly the weekend has passed and Sunday evening is here. The new work week is just a good night's sleep away and I'm about to start just that in a moment. And, sigh, my weekend to work is just around the corner. Ah well.
We've had a lovely weekend which felt like it started with Thanksgiving since I was blessed to be off. I worked Friday but it seemed like just a blip in a long weekend. Yesterday I was informed of my Christmas gift from my Mr. so that I could give it my approval and into lay-away it went. I'll save the reveal for when it's here but suffice to say, I am so excited and beyond that I can hardly believe it! Now when you actually see what it is, it's sure to be anti-climatic. Then with more wonderful blessings Dean's aunt and uncle from Colorado surprised his grandmother and his parents with a visit and THEN when you think that you're full to over-flowing, Uncle Ken called to tell Dean he was buying his mom a lift recliner. You cannot imagine what a thrill this was to the Mr. and he can't wait until his mom sees her surprise gift arrive this week. She's been bed-bound for a month being unable to sit comfortable on a regular chair and has a hard time rising without his dad's assistance, which he's no longer able to provide.
This morning the Mr. pulled all of our Christmas decorations from the attic and we set about decorating our two Christmas trees and all of the extra touches that go along with them. And of course, it's a day of nostalgia as we pull out "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments, high school football get the idea. I bought Christmas cards during our anniversary trip and got those return-addressed and signed. They will go into the mail this week when I address them.
Our home is now decked out in holiday finery and we have settled in for a little relaxation in our sparkling house with a fire in the fireplace. Yes, I'm tired and I should get started on that good night's sleep but I wanted spend a few moments with you before I say good night.
And so, now I lay me down to sleep...:)

Image: our family room this evening (before we lit the fire!) Notice I failed to remove the Mr.'s tools from the hearth.


If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


1. Ornaments from my grandparent's trees.
2. Bronner's name ornaments.
3. Baking.
4. Old Christmas carols.
5. "It's a Wonderful Life"
6. Mexican food on Christmas Eve.
7. Dearborn ham, Armenian bean salad, Continental meat balls.
8. A Snowbaby for Dean's grandmother.
9. Stockings for everybody
10. Nativity music box.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday

Good Black Friday morning to you! Is everybody already out hitting the stores? Ugh, not me! I am leaving shortly for work but frankly, wouldn't be shopping regardless. Praise the Lord and thank you Jesus for online shopping is my motto.
I'm trusting everyone, like us, had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Family, a little too much food and a relaxing day. If you are like me, Thanksgiving is not only a wonderful day unto itself but it's the gateway to the Christmas holidays which I officially declare now begun. You may proceed.
I better get moving and head for the hospital. Have a wonderful day wherever you are.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I've had cause lately to think about marriage. Not because of our anniversary nor because I'm pondering the Mr. I've been thinking of marriage because I have some very dear friends who are thinking about marriage. Friends who are going through divorces, friends who wonder if their marriage will ever be happy, friends who have been through divorces and become powerful testimonies of God's anointing, friends who wish to be married but haven't yet met "the one."

And so...marriage.

I used to think I understood marriage based upon our history. I understood how love could turn into something ugly and I understood how to dig in and pray my way through it. And most of the time, I understand how to nurture and protect my marriage. Well, I understand that pretty much all of the time, sometimes I just don't do a good job of it.

But now these women are stretching my understanding. I want to stand beside them in their journeys but I've no road map to share. And the testimony of my marriage doesn't shed light on their path. So I've been thinking about and praying for my friends and asking God, that if there is some wisdom I can offer, reveal it to me. I have found myself thinking not about men who I could match up or ideas to make relationships work but I've been thinking about marriage itself. The Institution of Marriage you might say.

I've always found marriage fascinating. I remember praying for the husband I would some day marry when I was a very small child, praying for our lives that were so far distant I couldn't really think of much to pray about so it was often a prayer wrapped in a day dream about living in homes that were a cross between The Farm and the houses from the old movies I watched on Saturday mornings. Well, I am not exactly living the daydreams but I believe that the Holy Spirit was laying a foundation for my heart. When I finally met "The One" at the ripe old age of 15 (well, it seemed like I'd been praying forever!), I added our future children and their wives and the spouses of my grandchildren and on and on and on to my prayers and daydreams. Maybe that's why now, with grown up sons, I have very little anxiety about their future marriages. It's old business between God and me, long taken care of.

Now I'm back to thoughts and daydreams about marriage. And I still love the very idea of it. It's the most powerful image in the Bible. Adam and Eve created precisely for one another. Eve taken from her husband's side to share the very essence of his life. God building their home and placing them in it where he came in the evenings to enjoy the life he fashioned for them. The Song of Solomon breathes the power of the calling between a man and a woman. All of this to build into our souls the miracle of love that compels Christ to call us his Bride.

There is a purpose to marriage. The relationship between a man and a woman is a gift beyond comprehension because it is God's provision of joy in purpose. Together, in marriage, we build the world. The impact of a husband and his wife has no limits. Without man and woman drawn together to build the world, everything literally disappears. And yet God, with a love for us that cannot be grasped in mortality, added marriage to his will so that we could fulfill his plan compelled by this supernatural desire toward one another. Animals procreate by chance, create a temporary home and walk away when another generation is born.

But we, the apple of God's eye, the favored of his creation, are knit together. We desire one another's hearts the way that God desires our hearts. It isn't any wonder that satan would attack marriage and devalue it in the minds of those not pursuing the mind of God. This is why these women, desiring marriage and longing for the husbands God has created for them, bless me. The spark of divinity is in their eyes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Click here for the recipe I use for chicken lettuce wraps. I made them today for lunch, a Sunday favorite around here. I triple the recipe for the four of us although I could probably make more and it would be eaten. It's good the next day too.

My modifications: I put the chicken in the crockpot overnight seasoned with salt & pepper and a little water in the bottom. Less mess, less oil needed and it basically shreds itself. Also makes the final prep much faster. I use 1/2 real sugar or brown sugar and 1/2 Splenda to cut the calories and also because of the history of diabetes on both sides of the family. I don't add mushrooms because Mac hates 'em. I use green onions because I just like them better. My guys prefer Romaine lettuce to ice berg. And that's just about it.

If you'd had the Soothing Lettuce Wraps at P.F. Chang's, this recipe is turns out pretty much the same. If you're going to make these, you might need to plan ahead if you are like me and don't have lots of Asian ingredients on hand but once purchased, they will go a long way. Also, the chili paste and hot mustard powder are added to the wraps individually for extra heat so if no one in your house likes spicy food, skip them.

At Chang's chicken lettuce wraps are on the appetizer menu but we eat them as our entree. Some side dish ideas are~

Veggie stir fry: great to use the veggies left over from the week that are no longer at the peak of freshness. I pick up some snow peas and bean sprouts and add the mushrooms here as well. After the chicken is done I transfer it to a platter and make my stir fry in the pan used for the chicken for added flavor.
Asian salad with mandarin oranges and sesame seed dressing.
Egg rolls: couldn't get easier than this! I just pick up a half dozen from our local Chinese take-out place. You can also buy them at the market and heat them up or make them from scratch if you're so inclined. I am not.

If I ever had left-overs, which I don't, I have thought that you could put the chicken and stir fry veggies in a pot with broth and make a stir fry soup. Doesn't that sound good? Although I wouldn't put the lettuce in my soup, that's your call.

Give them a try if you are looking for something different and easy! And let me know what you think!


Jeremiah 30:19
From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


1. My family.
2. Donny.
3. My home.
4. My job.
5. Laughter.
6. Pajamas.
7. My country.
8. First floor washer/dryer.
9. Coffee.
10. Jesus!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This week's lesson? Attitude. Attitude! Shouldn't I already have learned that lesson? But the Lord, being a patient teacher, seems to finally be getting my attention. And do you know how you learn the value of attitude? By being in lots of situations that are very unpleasant! And boy oh boy, has this been a great week to learn about bad attitudes.
You know what I learned? This is embarrassing, but here it goes. The thing I learned is that my attitude often looks great (smiles, pats on the hand), sounds great (Sure! No problem!) and stinks (self explanatory.) It tastes bitter on my tongue even though the words sound sweet and it feels forced because it is.

I shared last week my couple of difficult confrontations. You know how it is when two people who truly love the Lord allow themselves to be chastised by one another? Iron sharpens iron and our friendship struck a blow against hell. The other one seemed to be quickly resolved until I realized I had been given the ultimate rejection, deleted from Facebook friends! Then there was the working weekend and the staffing frustrations that always come with. On my way to work Saturday morning was when I had that Aha! moment that simply was that God had never let me down. I knew that already, didn't I?

I think that the Lord had made my heart vulnerable to learning more about my attitude with the unpleasant week prior because I had spent a lot of time in prayer borne of frustration. There could be an entire blog devoted to why I need frustration to push me into deeper prayer. But there I was on Saturday morning getting worried about staffing before I got there and I think I was just worn out with worrying. I realized that attitude isn't really about taking a deep breath, walking into the hospital and putting on a smile. That's often what I do, with people complimenting me on my great attitude. But it's a superficial attitude. It's an attitude of "I hope." That's not the Christian's attitude. Our attitude is, "I know."

The world says, "We will see how this works." The Christian says, "I don't need to see it work, I know God's plan will always reign and I will play my part in whatever that is." A good attitude isn't about tolerating unpleasantness with a smile but the ever-present awareness of God in all. That knowledge generates peace which looks like a great attitude. And it isn't superficial.

I had two arguments, one deletion (lol), bad staffing for two days and let's not forget back to Weight Watchers and my weight right there in black and white! What a week! What a really really really...good week.

It was a week of waking up in the morning with a new understanding; my friend is angry at me but God loves me and he is a restoring God. My FB friend published her opinion of me on FB and then deleted me but God is a reassuring God who silences my accusers. My staffing is inadequate but God is a supplying God who makes ends meet. My weight is up but God is an enabling God who sees me through the blood of his son which makes me beautiful.

I would have chosen no arguments, no work problems and no weight gain if I'd been allowed to write my own script. I'd have chosen quick resolution, last minute fixes and less weight gain if I'd had finish the story.

Instead I got what I got. I got God in the middle of my mess.

On second thought, I don't think I really did get a lesson in having a good attitude. I got a lesson in having the right perspective.

I have told you these things so that you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A True Story

When the young woman told her boyfriend that she was pregnant he first accused her of cheating. And then he said, "Get an abortion. I'll pay for it."
She chose to have her baby and so alone, she endured a difficult pregnancy while she worked full time to pay the rent on the apartment that would be her baby's home. She couldn't call in sick when she awoke vomiting and weak, there was no one else to go to work and pay the bills. She asked God, during those dark and frightening days, to soften the man's heart toward his child. She promised she would forgive him for his rejection. But the man never called and when she called him on the morning she gave birth to his daughter, he told her, "Go to hell" and hung up the phone.
The woman worked hard, finished school and was promoted at work.
One day when the little girl was four years old, the man finally called. "I want to see my daughter" he said. So the woman kept her promise to God and put her little girl into the back seat. But she was no longer alone. The man who had entered her life two years ago drove the car and held her hand as they made their way across town.
The father who had called for his daughter's death before her birth came out to the car and leaned into the window. He said to the little girl, "Hey there Beautiful, I'm your father." Then he looked into the front seat and pointed to the man in the driver's seat and said to the woman, "And who is this?"
Before the woman could answer, her daughter piped up in a happy voice from the back seat, "Don't be silly, that's my Daddy!"
Be very careful what you throw away, what you assume will always be there and what you treat with disregard.
It will be a kind of living death when one day, you see your treasure being lovingly cradled in someone else's arms.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Uncomfortably Blessed

Listening to a radio show the other morning that was about weight loss, the doctor said that the greatest challenge to American dieters is that "Americans have an exceptionally low tolerance for discomfort of any kind."
Ain't that the truth?
That really does sum up the obesity epidemic in the United States. Our great blessings have made us not humbly thankful but turned us into gorging consumers in need of instant gratification. Hungry doesn't usually mean literally lacking food, it means not having immediate access to whatever we're currently craving.
I wonder how many people around the world even experience specific cravings. Or do they just become hungry because it's time to eat and then satisfied that they have eaten? We went to Applebee's the other evening for dinner because we didn't feel like cooking. Luxury. And then I had a silent invisible inside temper tantrum for a minute or two because they didn't have Weight Watcher's French Onion soup. They had tomato, chicken or potato soup. They had a 6 page menu of other options. But my supper was ruined! Well, not ruined but definitely disappointing.
Maybe this speaks only to me, but I do not want to be too weak to tolerate discomfort. As I rejoined Weight Watchers this week to re-lose that weight I've lost and regained, I know that my need for instant gratification got me here. Not just the caving in to fatty foods because they taste so good. But also the escape from boredom, sadness, frustration, tiredness that food provides me. The too many carry out/drive through/restaurant meals to avoid cooking and cleaning my kitchen because I'd had a long day. How many calories have I eaten to avoid discomfort?
Ahh, the high price of blessings. It reminds me again and again that although I know I cannot earn God's generosity, I can certainly be a better steward. Blessings do not cause a wise person to self-destruct.


Sunday, November 14, 2010


Isaiah 28:16
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This Week

1. Got new contacts.
2. Had a couple of difficult conversations.
3. Went back to Weight Watchers.
4. Had a sinus headache. Have a sinus headache. Will have a sinus headache?
5. Found all of my Little House books in some boxes!
6. Changed to "Ginger Snap" Scentsies...Mmmmm.
7. Painted my nails red and wore blue scrubs with white shoes on Veteran's Day.
8. Removed the red nail polish on Friday.
9. Bought mascara and got one free at Wal Mart's.
10. Made an appointment with a new hair dresser.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Wow, not a single post all week! That indicates a busy week I guess. Which it has been. I have had a sinus headache since last Friday. This morning I think it's a little better...thank you Jesus. Nothing touched it except the sinus medications that make you sleepy so I pushed through the week without much enthusiasm & only got relief when I went to bed.
I've also had two, yes two, different people this week accuse Dean or me of some very offensive stuff. Blaming us unfairly and being pretty aggressive about it. That probably contributed to my headache. With much prayer God enabled me to respond without anger but letting both of the people know that I would not receive their blame for things they were unhappy about. My flesh wanted me to list all of my defense arguments and throw in some of their own short-comings. But I didn't. I did my best to firmly set the limits of what I will tolerate. The real work comes in walking away without hardening my heart. Oh, how the enemy uses us against each other.
In other news, I attempted to make an appointment for new glasses but was informed that my insurance will pay for my exam now but not my glasses until January. Well that makes a tremendous amount of sense. Since I don't see the point in that, I'll wait until January. I am having my contact lens appointment today since insurance doesn't cover that. And I have a ton of housework to do since I haven't done anything around here all week except work and lie on the couch. Speaking of work, my weekend to work has rolled around again. Blech. But Dean has Monday off with me so maybe by then I will be headache free, chores done and can enjoy a day of rest.
And since, I didn't get to it yesterday, my thanks and love to everyone who has served in the military. It's a gift to your fellow man that I cannot comprehend.

Image: my computer on the old farm table that used to be in the kitchen on The Farm.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Psalm 84:2-4
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Cold weather is good because...

1. The wardrobe is kinder to the chubby girl.
2. Using the fireplace.
3. Baking & cooking doesn't make the house too warm.
4. The holidays are coming!
5. Snow is coming!
6. Who doesn't love a hoodie?
7. Life slows down.
8. I have a new red barn coat.
9. I have new LL Bean mocs.
10. You can wear a hat if you're having a bad hair day.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Anniversary Trip

Because I know you need need need to know about our mini-vacation; here is the much anticipated Smith 2010 Anniversary Trip in review!
To your left, 24 years of marriage! Us on Lake Michigan.
I think I took roughly 200 pictures of our get-away but I won't bore you with all 200! Mostly scenery and the rest all of those fabulous Facebook shots (you know, holding the camera at arm's length for your own picture.) I took a lot of scenery because I want to make a grouping for our bedroom wall. If I ever actually do that, I'll take a picture of the finished product. I will just share the highlights of our trip and really, there isn't much exciting to say. We have always enjoyed our anniversaries as time to be quietly together; relaxing and appreciating all that God has given us. So... On Sunday afternoon we checked in to the Holiday Inn Express in St. Joseph. It was directly across the street from Lake Michigan up on a bluff. Let me insert a little Holiday Inn shout out here; we always reserve king jacuzzi rooms and we are never disappointed. Beautiful room with a kitchenette, giant jacuzzi, flat screen television and king size bed. During the late afternoon we took a leisurely walk along Silver Beach and were amazed at the breath-taking sight of Lake Michigan. I mean, we knew and yet you can't really know fully unless you are standing there how awesome God's creation is. It was windy and the waves were choppy and foamy. And on the beach it was cold! Still worth a slow walk to take it all in and feel those muscles relaxing.
Monday morning we had a small breakfast before heading out to Holland, MI. We traveled up the Michigan coast taking in the Autumn colors and then spent a few hours wandering in and out of galleries and small shops, finishing up with lunch before heading to the Holland State Park for more time on the Lake Michigan shore.

Back to St. Joseph in the evening we stopped for a jacuzzi warm-up and then to the beach again to watch the sunset. Are there words to describe it? Can a photograph even begin to capture it? No and no.

After the sun finally disappeared below the horizon, we went to Schu's for dinner. Steak for the Mr., grilled salmon for me. And then a stop at The Chocolate Cafe where the Mr. ran in to get us some hot cider to sip on our way home.

Tuesday we reluctantly checked out and drove east, away from St. Joseph and possibly the best anniversary trip we've ever enjoyed. Although I think I say that every year. Anyway...
Another stop in Marshall on the way back home for lunch and a stroll along main street including a stop at The Mole Hole to buy our annual Radko Christmas ornament. Every year the we get an ornament that reminds us of the year past. Here is the 2010 ornament choice. I'll tell you more about the reason why on another day.

The Mr. also picked this out......for the top of our electronic tower.
And that is the 2010 Smith Anniversary Trip. We had a great time and are happy to be home in a blessed and happy house where we continue to stand amazed by grace.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Ah, home sweet home. Although if you wanted me to spend a few extra days in St. Joseph, I wouldn't have argued.I'm unpacking and laundering and still to make an apple pie promised to my staff tomorrow when I'm back to work. Glad to be home, rested and refreshed and happy. Hope all is going well with all of you, I'll post something more substantial in the next few days.

Top: Snuggled up on Lake Michigan waiting for sunset.

Bottom: Lake Michigan sunset.

Monday, November 01, 2010

St. Joseph

Good morning from St. Joseph, MI on Lake Michigan!
We arrived yesterday afternoon after stopping in Marshall, MI for brunch. Schueller's no longer serves their Sunday brunch! Still a great meal but disappointing, another tradition lost.
Anyway, it is amazingly beautiful here. Everyone who has ever stood on this shore must believe in God. We had dinner in a little beach side restaurant and walked along the lake yesterday evening. Back to the hotel to warm up in the jacuzzi and a good night's sleep.
This morning we are getting ready to head out to drive along the Lake Michigan shoreline and see the Autumn colors.
In the mean time, here is a photograph of a lighthouse I took during our walk.
Have a wonderful day!