Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In Tim's absence

DH's traveling. Just us girls - Princess Night!

Daddy is the "fun one." So Momma has to step up her game on single parent nights. Long walks, trips to the playground.

Tonight, enjoy being girly! Twirly fairy skirts, silly paper crowns, necklaces and a princess movie. Snuggle together to watch the prince and princess survive and fall in love.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hemming Rectangles

Rental houses are a beautiful thing. My previous experience with renting, a dorm room, came with a delightful lady Martha. She cleaned my bathroom every week. I miss her.

As a couple, we're buyers, project hunters. Our first condo had no toilet; our first house seeped cat pee. Trend? But here we are, Mellon St., renting. Hot water heater blows? Call the landlord (true story). Our real lesson in this house: live with it. We don't live with anything. We pull up every scrap of vinyl flooring, yank out every dated light fixture, paint every. single! wall. Now in a rental, I'm learning to work around the existing. For instance, our kitchen floor is red and white checkerboard. Bold statement. The walls are light blue, and I'm forbidden paint. Fine IKEA-esque pallet, but not one I would pick. I've largely ignored it, but we've been here a year with no plans to leave. Time to integrate.
Exhibit A: red checked floor

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Local Ministry

I don't know how to introduce this thought. Every intro is followed by the delete key. So I'll just say that I was tremendously encouraged by what I read in 1 Thessalonians. Paul laid out his ministry step by step, a checklist for parents with a toddling mission field. I found myself praying through this passage and wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chai Tea

I feel defeated. Baby girl climbs my leg like a cat on tree. So much strength in her 18 pounds. A long weekend leaves a cranky baby with high demands. Big one has forgotten her training. More accidents than successes this week. Potty is for playing. Pants for pooing. I want to reach for diapers. Am I really that tired? Just a pre-lunch slump. Lunch at two because I haven't been able to stop sooner.

Cold morning. Room temperature doesn't feel as warm when the sun is obscured by clouds. I pull a hot cup of tea close, feeling steam on my face. Sun pokes out, illuminating jet streams from 1 o'clock F-22's. My fingers regain their flex. An afternoon pick me up to send me peaceful into arsenic hour. A  quick prayer, word of thanks, and reminder of this morning's verse, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." I need rest if only for a moment.
Does tea really fix all evils? According to my crazy tea store lady, yes. The warm cup gives me time, quiet. I sit before the Lord, lay my burdens at his feet and breathe deep. Tea demands sipping, a rest stop from my motherly duties. A brewed sabbath.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chocolate Macaroons

Baked Meringues - Chocolate and vanilla
I've noticed something about special dietary concerns and potlucks. Your special dietary need becomes your special dish. Before the gf diet, I was always asked to bring veggies. Theoretically, a mostly vegetarian should make awesome veggies, right? Now I'm always asked to bring a gf dessert. Its easy to substitute corn pasta or bake chicken instead of frying it, but once you venture into gf flour, people become uneasy. Dessert becomes the celiacs unofficial dish forever.

No complaints here. Dessert can be made ahead. Dessert is easy to transfer. Dessert leftovers never stir up complaints in my house. So I'll be the gf dessert queen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Art of Deflection

I love 2, the age that is. Every stage is funnier than the one before. Gwenny’s language is taking off. Full sentences and more complex thoughts. Learning to use speech for more than demanding food and resisting naps.
This week’s lesson is deflection. For example:
Me: Did you have an accident?
G: Yes. (short pause) Sissy pooped in her panties.
Me: I’m sure she did. What about you?
G: Sissy pee-pee’d in her panties.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We Win!

My feet cannot stay still; my eyes snatch glances skyward; my heart leaps. I am Narnia seeing a crocus poke through snow. He's coming... The King is coming... Not as a helpless baby this time. No. As the One to whom every knee will bow. He already won. Can you feel it?

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Nothing gives me more hope than the thought of Jesus seated at the right hand of God. The ultimate good, Christ's exaltation, came from the ultimate bad, his crucifixion. I find no words. How beautiful is the will of the Lord.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Couple's Candle Making

Paired tapers hanging by a shared wick slowly rising from a vat of colored wax - one of the most beautiful things I saw at Williamsburg as a child. I envisioned Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin writing by the yellow light of those candles, wax melting onto a metal stand. It might be an overly romantic notion, but in that moment history was displayed through those candles.

This weekend, T and I tried our hand at candle dipping. We inherited 30 pounds of wax with all the equipment from my sis-in-law. Judging by the bulk of wicks and wax, she was anticipating a side business. She left us lots of options.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stuffed Animal Storage

Little girls and their stuffed animal, it's a beautiful relationship. Just this morning, all of Gwenny's animals had "sick bellies," and she had to feed them apples and put them to bed. Her room looked like a stuffed animal refugee camp with bears and monkeys and a zebra lying face down covered by play silks.

I love watching my girls practice their nurturing skills on "Monkey" and "ZeeBee" and "G-aff" (notice a theme in these names). Storing all these precious friends is a challenge. They were sitting on top of a bookshelf until I came upstairs to find Gwennan climbing unsteady shelves to reach her bear. That could not continue.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Trail Mix Cookies

My little galley kitchen transformed into a Christmas treat factory this year. Specialty ice creams, meringues, toffee. So much sugary goodness.

Now that all the Christmas goodies are gone, I find myself still scurrying through cabinets for something sweet. Bad habits dying hard, I suppose.

Rather than the traditional January crash diet, I like to move myself slowly back to healthy bathing suit season food. Swap the rich, sugary fluff for a hearty oatmeal cookie instead. I'm on an apricot and cranberry kick right now, providing direction for Trail Mix Cookies. Hearty, protein-packed cookies shoved full of spices, fruit and nuts. Granola wishes it had grown up to be this cookie. I can hear its muffled regret from inside the cereal box. These are seriously delicious.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January Melon

Winter cannot make up its mind. Yesterday's warm sunshine is replaced by dark chilly drizzle (July in Seattle). The kind of weather that demands... watermelon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Encouragement to Proceed

I love my hubby.

That's not a new revelation (although I don't say it publicly enough). I mention it because: DH wants me to blog. He likes Renaissance Momma enough to miss my presence on the internet. Such an encouraging, if undeserved presence in my life.

So here I type. I toyed with starting over, adjusting my focus, streamlining my purpose in a new blog. A fresh start. Again, DH steered me back, pointing out the recipes and craft projects and growing pains already documented on these virtual pages. I don't have to redefine myself to grow.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Beginning of the End for New Year Resolutions

Monday morning, third cup of coffee, laundry swirling in suds, fish tank gurgling for a water change. My spiritual muscles groan as I settle into my BSF lesson. Acts of the Apostles. Not quite the pearl in every shell that I enjoyed while reading Proverbs over the break. This is real work. Heavy lifting of spiritual concepts to reveal real life application.

I would love to regale you with the events of the past weekend. Bike rides, the museum, the playground, art projects (yes, more than one), bowl games, etc... We had a wonderful family-filled weekend. Seriously good. I’m not sure how helpful recounting it would be. Sitting in a desk chair facing another work week after a long Christmas break, don’t we all want verbal caffeine, a reason to press into this week?

Statistically, we’re about to give up on all our New Year resolutions. This week is the end. I can feel it coming. My energy is waning for pulling myself up by my bootstraps and persevering in my goal to simplify and focus. What now? Does it even matter if 2012’s resolutions fall short? After all, I loved God when my life was complicated, right?
This weekend suggests otherwise. We had a great time, completed lots of checklists, forged our family memories. But where was God? We sent silent “thank you’s” to Him for a fun day and sweet babies, but is that worship? Did we keep the cross before us? Did we go to war with sin?
In short, we hit our goal and missed the mark, all at the same time. We had a family-oriented, low cost, low fuel consumption weekend exactly like we planned. But our simplification did not lead us where we hoped. All our good intentions are for naught unless directed back to Jesus. I am humbled this morning by my constant need for the Holy Spirit’s power to turn my good plans into God’s Good Work. 
Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”


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