Monday, September 7, 2009

Worth Fighting For?

My husband has been watching Band of Brothers on tv. I like to see shows from the beginning so I haven't stopped to watch it with him but I did stop for a moment tonight. This episode was called "Why We Fight" and it involved the struggle the WWII soldiers were facing as the wondered if their sacrifice to fight was even worth it. They weren't sure exactly why they were fighting the Nazis, and if it mattered at all. And then they came across a concentration camp, not knowing those camps existed. Suddenly it was disturbingly clear to these young men why they were fighting. Their lives would be forever altered by the atrocities they saw, the evil they witnessed and the worst of humanity. There was not then and is not now many who question whether or not WWII was worth fighting for when thinking of the Holocaust alone. There was evil being done on the other side of the world and our country, as a strong nation, had the moral obligation to stop the harm being done to weaker countries and prevent the danger from coming to our land. The history books do not tell of wide spread dissention. Instead there are stories of sacrifice both from the soldiers and the people at home.

What will history books read about the United States and the fight we're in now? Likely that we pulled out before the task was complete and that Americans questioned the US' invasion and work being done in the Middle East during the entire war. But is the difference between why we were in WWII and why we are in Operation Iraqi Freedom? Why doesn't the US still have the moral obligation to defend weaker nations and prevent attacks on home soil? The cruelty done to the Jewish people, and people of other nationalities, during the Nazi reign is unimaginable and will hopefully never happen to that extent again. But it could. Why would Sadaam Hussein, or any one else, be less capable that Adolf Hitler of causing inhumane distruction? So why is it so horrible (according to so many Americans) that the US stepped in to prevent the escalating evil? Not to mention stop what was already happening? Mass genocide happened in Iraq, not only in Germany. How easily forgotten that is.

Thank you to the committed soldiers who are sacrificing, and whose lives will be forever changed by what they are going through right now. May you be protected from danger, honored for your work and know "Why We Fight."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

At the Table

The dinner table is a pretty special place in a family's home. I was reminded of this thought during this past weekend.

My family had the opportunity to spend time in the house my grandparents lived in for 41 years. It has been beautifully converted into a bed and breakfast and will continue to be a place where people are welcomed and memories are made for years. I spent a lot of time in that house as I grew up and it is a precious place to me. The new owner has been so kind and gracious to my family, honoring that this was home to them. On Saturday, she invited us to visit the house and share a breakfast. We enjoyed touring the home and the food was delicious but what was the most special happened after breakfast. The owner of the home was curious about the house's and family's history so the family spent time around the table sharing memories. I love to hear my family tell stories, there are wonderful story tellers in the group, but what I really enjoyed was thinking back to the hours I have spent in that house around the table listening to stories. We enjoyed Sunday afternoon lunches, holiday meals and other meals "just because" in that home and no time around the table ended just because we finished eating. Rather, we sat there for a long time afterwards just they did on Saturday morning. Someone always said, "lets go sit somewhere more comfortable" but it would take awhile before we moved. The dining room table is now in a different room, but the stories were still there. I really missed Meme that morning, knowing she would have loved being in the middle of it (and probably telling us a story she'd told us a hundred times...but I would give anything to hear them one more time).

Right now it is pretty difficult to have a peaceful mealtime with a 16 month old. But, Saturday morning reinforced to me the importance of making it work. I want years for our family of spending extra time at the table, just because we enjoyed being together.

Look Ahead

Tonight the three of us were driving home as the sun was setting in the direction we were heading. I love sunsets, clouds and pretty skies and my husband, knowing this, does a good job of appreciating those with me. Tonight's sunset made the clouds pretty shades of pink and orange and as we were admiring them, my husband invited our son to look at the sky. He encouraged J to look forward, pointing and using a tone that indicated that what he would see would be pretty neat. Now, we were driving on the interstate with lots going on around and in front of us so a 16 month old in the back seat was probably not going to recognize that his daddy was pointing out a sunset. But, J immediately got wide-eyed and smiled and said "ohhh" like it was absolutely amazing what he was seeing. I looked at my husband and said "now that is trust." J probably had no idea what he was looking towards but because his daddy told him it was great, he completely believed it.

I wish I had that reaction when God was pointing out a direction to me. Even if I'm not sure what I'm looking at, that I would get wide eyed and excited just because my Father said it would be great.

"Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."
Habakkuk 1:5

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What are you left with?

This isn't the first post I thought I would write after a long hiatus! But, it is on my mind and if I am ever going to start blogging regularly I need to just write when I think of it.

It has been a rough week for pop culture with the death of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

Surprisingly of all of them I think I was an Ed McMahon fan, even though he was the oldest. Apparently I was a big fan of "Heeeeere's Johnny" when I was young. I only know Farrah Fawcett for her celebrity status, not any of her work, and I can't say I was ever a Michael Jackson fan. I really like The Jackson 5 (though I do kind of feel like I am witnessing child labor abuse taking place) but the rest of his music isn't my style. Mainly though, I am of the wrong generation to remember Michael as anything but Wacko Jacko. I was in 6th grade when he was first arrested for molestation and it has just been downhill from there. But this is all beside the point of the blog...

These were all huge pop icons and had much of what I think the world deems as successful- Ed McMahon was on one of the most popular shows of all time and through that met anybody who was anybody, had plenty of wealth (though not in the last few years), had a long career. Farrah Fawcett was known for beauty. And Michael Jackson was, for a large part of his career, the biggest celebrity in the world.

But they all died. Interestingly enough, in very common ways: illnesses related to old age, cancer and heart disease. And now what? Well, now none of that celebrity, wealth, beauty or power matters. I do not know the beliefs of any of these three for sure so the following passage is not a condemnation or affirmation for any of them. Rather it is a reminder for readers that we all face mortality. We will all face God at the ends and all of the prizes achieved during our lives will not matter at all. All that matters is whether or not we knew Him as Lord.

From Revelation 3:14-22
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Am I Doing?

I said that I would update with how I am doing on my goals so here goes...

I will keep the dining room table clean so that the three of us can eat at the table. The mail has to find a new home.
Doing pretty well...we eat dinner at the table for most of the meals but sometimes I have to clean it off before the meal :). I really enjoy our dinnertime together and I think it is getting the little guy used to having meal time together.

When I have a "great intention" I will write it down or tell my husband about it so that I won't forget it or have motivation to follow through.
Honestly, I can't think of a great intention that I have had! I guess I did want to make cookies for my husband's trip and I did. I don't know if telling him helped or not.

I will keep up with the calendar that is now on my fridge.
I think I have kept up with it.

I will read the Bible in a year.
I am pleased to say I have kept up with this well. I have not missed a day, even when going out town. And, I am really enjoying it.

I will blog at least once every two weeks.
You know I have already messed this one up :). =

I will cook more vegetables with meals.
I still need to improve but we have had veggies with most meals.

I will always have some sort of dessert for my husband.
I think I have done this most days, at least with cookies. It really helps that my mom bought him a lot of his favorite Girl Scout cookies!

I will do one craft project each month.
When I do a project, I like to spend at least a few hours on it at a time so it isn't working out well right now. My little guy hasn't slept great at night for the last few weeks and has been waking up earlier so I have to choose to stay up late or be sleepy the next day. I have worked on the stocking I have been cross stitching for a looong time though so I have an outlet.

I am going to keep our home neater.
I just need a new home.

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Things About Me

Ugh. I didn't even make it the first month in posting at least once every 2 weeks. I think my mom is the only one who checks this still so sorry Mama. (By the way if you do read this, first thank you and second, leave me a comment and let me know!)

There is a note floating around Facebook (I guess the FB version of email forwards) that requires you to make a list of 25 random things about yourself. I am a big dork and like these kind of things so I did it when my friends sent it to me. Because I can't seem to finish a blog that I start on this thing I will just recopy it here. I made a few changes to remove personal/identifying information.
  1. I want my life to reflect the joy and peace I have of knowing Christ as my Savior. That is what matters that you know about me, the rest of the list is just fun.
  2. I have ridiculously ticklish feet. I love the result of a pedicure but getting it done is torturous.
  3. I am married to the guy I had a crush on in 7th grade, was my high school sweetheart and I still continue to find even more things to love about him.
  4. I am a mama and can’t describe how wonderful that is.
  5. 2008 was quite a year- it contained the most amazing time of our lives (having our son), and the hardest time of our lives (our church being closed). I am hoping for a less emotional 2009 (well…sort of).
  6. I am a horrible housewife. I don’t like to cook, I don’t like to clean and I am really disorganized. God bless a patient husband.
  7. My son’s smile is one of the most wonderful sights I will ever see. And I love that it is his daddy’s smile.
  8. I started a “Read the Bible in a Year” program this year and am so glad that I have.
  9. My husband is my absolute favorite person in the world. I love his character, how he makes me smile, how much he encourages me, what an amazing daddy he is….the list can go on but it is 25 things about me, not him :)
  10. I would really love to be a writer and/or speaker and/or teacher.
  11. I am a minister’s wife and actually love it. Didn’t think I would, but I do!
  12. My husband and I talked about what we thought our son’s personality would be like when I was pregnant and were surprisingly close!
  13. I love the little lake in our backyard. It has lots of ducks that my son now loves and makes for great walks. It saved my sanity the first few months with a newborn.
  14. ***This one was impossible to remove personal city related info so I'll make a new one*** I can take or leave desserts but really like hot desserts with fruit (like cobbler)
  15. I still revert to my old junior high and high school insecurities every once in a while and I wish I didn’t.
  16. I have an awesome little sister and love spending time with her. Luckily she loves my son enough that she comes to visit more often now.
  17. I have lived in "current city" for 5 and ½ years and just drove to "another neighboring big city" by myself for the first time on Friday. And I am grateful for GPS.
  18. I love learning. I enjoy hearing about research findings, reading studies, watching documentaries and miss the lectures from my wise professors. It is the only reason I am still considering PhD work.
  19. I enjoy shows on the Game Show Network and my mom and I could win Chain Reaction.
  20. I love my family. My parents are wonderful people who I really admire and I really enjoy being with them. I respect them even more now that I am a parent. I also consider it a great blessing to have my extended family.
  21. Do not talk to me while Dancing with the Stars is on. I have called the final 3 for every season since I started watching during season 3 (except Marie Osmond but she didn’t count, that was a dark period in the show). I can also often guess what the judges will say even though I really have no clue what makes a specific dance. And I dance around the apartment afterwards. My absolute favorite is the waltz.
  22. I love hot tea and drink at least one mug a day, often two. Today I had three.
  23. My favorite hobby is creating art work and craft projects. There isn’t a particular favorite and I will try most things. Cross stitching relaxes me, I love painting but it stresses me, I am getting back into scrapbooking, sewing intimidates me so I haven’t tried it but I have a hundred other things I like to do.
  24. If I had the money, I would have a house on the lake and a cabin near ski slopes that are big enough so that our family could stay too.
  25. After rereading this list, I sound like a 73 year old woman. I really am cool I promise!

So that is some info about me! I PROMISE I'll start blogging more. I have lots of ideas, just haven't had the mental energy once my son has gone to bed to write them out.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Two in a Row

I should just stick with what I know. I have plenty of talents and things I am good at that I enjoy. Cooking is not one of those. We have to eat though and I have some dishes that I do well so I should be wise and not try things that are too involved. This point was made tonight.

So tonight was as much of a dinner disaster as last night but this time I am surprised that I came out of it without 3rd degree burns. I was making Rachel Ray's enchiladas- 30 Minute Meals my foot. It was an hour and a half. It involved making homemade enchilada sauce. I know what you are thinking "Senorita Gringo, there are plenty of good sauces that can be bought at a store." But no, I can't resign to the fact that I probably should take the less complicated route until I have burnt fingertips, a red splatter painted kitchen and a dinner that took waaaaay to long to cook. And have I mentioned that my electric stove is stupid? Luckily, I have a husband that is excited to see his son after work and kept him occupied during the time.

We're having leftovers tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Susie Homemaker, I am Not

Oh what an evening! As written in the last post, there are some thingsI want to improve on. One of those being how I handle dinner. So, this afternoon I was quite pleased with myself. I had been to the grocery store with Baby J and stuck completely to my list and purchased all of the ingredients I would need for dinner for the next 4 nights. I got home and Baby J was in a great mood so I put him in his high chair with some cereal to snack on while I unloaded the car. A few minor bumps but all was still going well enough. I realized my box of macaroni had expired (who knew that stuff goes bad?) and the recipe for the sandwiches called for a panini grill (which I do not have), a slight oversight on my part. But I pressed on. He was still in a great mood so I thought I would get dinner started. I put in his Wee Sing cd of Bible songs and sang along to him while he munched on cereal, grinning at me as I began some risotto (sounds impressive huh?) and starting cooking the chicken on the stove. I was thinking what a perfect picture of a housewife I would be when my husband came through the door after work. Singing songs with my son (Bible songs at that) while a wonderful dinner was being prepared. Seems pretty perfect doesn't it?

That is when it all hit the fan. First, the stupid risotto kept trying to boil over which is a serious problem on my stupid electric stove. Then, while dealing with that I let the chicken begin sticking to the pan and I was using my smallest frying pan which meant that it would probably get too hot and be a hassle the whole time. And then, Baby J starts sounding unhappy and I realize that it is time for him to eat and he is likely hungry. But, I can't leave the stupid risotto or it will boil over and the chicken is already beginning to burn so I am hoping Baby J will hold out until Daddy gets home and can feed him. So, as I am pouring more cereal out for Baby J to snack on (yes I know, mother of the year right here) and still singing trying to distract him, the darn smoke alarm goes off. Oh yes, it keeps getting better. Now don't worry, I wasn't putting us in danger. Our smoke alarm goes off if you sneeze wrong and the chicken sizzling for too long in the pan while I poured cereal was just too much. This really helped Baby J's mood. I yank the smoke alarm out of the ceiling (don't turn me in please) and try and salvage what is happening on the stove and begin making a bottle, all while praying my hubby comes soon so that he can feed my now very impatient son so that I don't burn the apartment down.

So now picture the scene. There is a very unhappy baby in his high chair, a smoke alarm dangling from the ceiling, a scent of burnt stuff wafting in the air, me quite frazzled, risotto burnt to the bottom of a pot, all with kids singing "The B-I-B-L-E" blaring in the background. A far cry from the earlier scene. And in walks my husband. Perfect. Luckily my husband is a very intelligent man, just smiled and kept his mouth shut and quickly cheered Baby J up while I finished up dinner.

Shockingly, it actually turned out pretty good, especially considering the circumstances. And my table was cleaned off so that we could all eat together.

Maybe before I try and follow through with my good intentions I should try and think things out a little better ahead of time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

For the New Year I will...

I am not a fan of new year resolutions because I am the queen of great intentions with significantly less follow through (see I Will #2 below). The way I see it, if I never make the resolutions then I don't have to feel guilty in February when I have already let them slip. But, there are some areas of my life that I feel need improvement and again, being the queen of great intentions...those changes don't come easily. So, I am using a counseling tool to help myself. When I have a client set goals in counseling, the most important rules are that the goals are measurable (so that you can know you have met them) and achievable. I have heard it recommended that when writing goals it is helpful to put what you will do into sentence form. So, here goes...(disclaimer: I am putting myself out here so no judgments allowed if you can't believe I don't do/do something listed here)
Beginning in 2009...
  • I will keep the dining room table clean so that the three of us can eat at the table. The mail has to find a new home.
  • When I have a "great intention" I will write it down or tell my husband about it so that I won't forget it or have motivation to follow through.
  • I will keep up with the calendar that is now on my fridge.
  • I will read the Bible in a year. I want to do this every year. I want to buy one of those "One Year Bibles" and start on January 1. Well again, queen of great intentions...I never buy one in time. This year I did though and really want to follow through with this goal. Now, when I was with friends tonight at 9:30 I realized that I had already forgotten about day 1! But I read it when I came home and told my husband to ask me each day if I read until I get better at it. Hopefully some blogs will come from what I am reading. Leading to the next one...
  • I will blog at least once every two weeks. So, don't be surprised if one week all you see is a "this is my mandatory post for the week."
  • I will cook more vegetables with meals. I am about to have a little boy eating what we eat and I have got to improve my menus!
  • I will always have some sort of dessert for my husband. I think all I would have to do to be the perfect wife would be to make it so that he has something sweet every night (even if I need to stock up on candy bars to hand him one when I don't feel like baking). I did well at this for about 3 weeks this summer. Again, great intentions...
  • I will do one craft project each month. I love doing something crafty and don't give myself much time to. It lifts my mood whenever I do though.
  • I am going to keep our home neater. I am horrible at this and I really want to be better. I am just so lazy! This is a poorly written goal because it isn't measurable but I am going to have to take baby steps!

I am sure there are many more things I can improve on but I'm starting with what is achievable! I'll give an update in February of how I am doing.

Happy New Year!