25 August 2009

I still have a lot to say...

...just not much time in which to say it. I'm trying not to be on the computer when the kids are up and about. I've instituted a two-hour mandatory after-lunch rest period, which should leave some time available, but I find I want to do other things during these moments of break in the day. Like dishes or laundry, for example. :)

However, for posterity's sake and anyone interested, an update, in brief...
  • Emmeliese is teething right now. She had her bottom two front teeth break through last week and the week before and an incisor broke through this weekend.
  • For some reason, she's been sleeping ok, though. We drug her up with ibuprofen at night and, for the last few nights, she's been sleeping straight through. I love that.
  • Annalivia is getting ready to go to 4-year old preschool in a couple of weeks. She was moved to an afternoon class this year and I'm feeling a little uneasy about it. We'll see how it goes.
  • Daniel is coming into his late-2-year-old behavior stage and we're experiencing everything -- positive and negative-- that this stage of growth entails. There are so many things to love. And so many challenges, too...
  • So, along with that, we are working on discipline at our house right now. The older kids have had too many episodes of being whiny, fussy, complaining, angry, etc. I have great hopes that things will turn around soon.
  • Dennis started his new job on Monday. It sounds like it will be a real challenge (in the positive sense of the word). I think he's really looking forward to mastering new skills and learning more about this company that he's always admired.
  • While Dennis was off work, he did a lot of good work on the house (it has a roof and a foundation now and is getting heating and cooling this week!) We also found a good guy who is doing tons of work for us while he is laid off from work. It is so incredibly helpful.
  • We're having amazing weather lately. Highs in the 70's or low 80's. Cool nights. We had the coolest July on record, apparently. It's been a gorgeous summer.
  • I got out my crochet hook this weekend for the first time since March. I need to work on those Christmas stockings I started last year. I'm confident I can figure them out without much problem. And now with the mandatory rest period, I think I'll have time to work on them! :)
  • It feels like our church journey is being so richly woven into life right now. So many areas of life are interconnecting, interrelating...integrating, I suspect. It's just lovely -- and exciting -- to experience.

More later. I want to crochet a few rows before rest time is over!

20 August 2009

Jam Cake

Did you know that one can make cake in the microwave? I didn't until my mother showed me how. It is incredibly quick, does not deplete air conditioning in the summer, and is not rubbery or icky at all! I especially like that I can make it for a special treat, mix it up in a few minutes and have it done and ready to eat about 6 minutes after that!

I thought there might be some other poor souls out there yearning for a quick cake recipe, so here's a little show-and-tell.
First, get a box of this stuff. Or something like it. If you get it on sale, it's especially fun to make into cake. You can also use a homemade mix if you are an overachiever or if you shudder at the thought of whatever is in boxed mixes. (Who ARE you anyway?)

You'll also need a microwaveable tart pan like the one in the cake picture above. I see these things in thrift stores all the time or in antique stores. They're pretty cheap. Get one out, make sure it is nice and dry and then spray it with a little cooking spray, or oil it, or butter it. No need to flour it, unless you really want to do things right.
You'll be making half a recipe of cake. My mother divides the mix in half by eyeball-ing it. I use a scale after my engineer-for-a-husband pointed out that I could get equal layers by weighing it, which is especially useful when making a layer cake (yeah, you can make your microwaved cake into a layer cake by putting parchment paper in the bottom and making the layers one at a time.)
Divide the other ingredients in half, too. Except the eggs. Use 2 eggs and make it a little egg-y.

So, for one layer, use 1/2 a package of mix-- any flavor, 1/6 cup (2T 2t) of oil (or melted butter), 1/2 cup milk (or water) and 2 eggs. Mix it all up and pour in the dish.

Microwave at 60% power until the cake puffs up and little air bubbles appear on its surface AND a tester comes out clean. In my mom's microwave, this takes about 7 minutes. In mine, it takes about 5:30. Just check it and err on the side of slightly overdone.

When you take it out, let it cool. Or don't. I frost it while warm to make the frosting thin. Or I use jelly, like I did this one for the kiddos. I love this jelly. It's good, good stuff that I can only find at an Amish grocery store about five miles south of my mother-in-laws house.

Spread the jelly in a thin layer and cut into pieces. Serve to hungry kiddos who will only stop playing long enough to gobble it up.

Do have some napkins standing by... :)

18 August 2009

Photo by Annalivia

Annalivia likes taking pictures with my camera. Usually I find a bunch of semi-blurry photos of the hubcaps on the van or pages of a book or dolls on it once I go to download. I thought this was pretty good. I don't think Emmeliese is quite convinced.

16 August 2009

A really good Sabbath resource

After writing that post on the Sabbath, I remembered that I had bought a little booklet available from Doorposts titled A Day of Delight: Making Sunday The Best Day of the Week. It has TONS of great ideas and many, many resources in the back. I especially appreciate the very non-stressful approach the author promotes.

In an unsolicited commercial, I'd like to put a plug in for Doorposts. I bought a few other resources from Doorposts when Annalivia was very little. I put them away and forgot about them, but I've gotten them out and I think there's some great stuff there! I'm so excited that I found them again!

If anyone has other Sabbath resources, I'd love to hear about them!

15 August 2009

A sleeping baby

I hesitate to post this, lest I somehow curse it, but I feel I should state my thankfulness that Emmeliese is a very good sleeper, unlike my first two children. Right now, it's 7:02 a.m. and she's still asleep. She went to bed at 9:30-ish last night. That's a lot of sleep! (And if Momma had gone to bed at 9:30-ish, Momma would have had a lot of sleep, too. Hmmm...)

Since she's been teething, she's had a tougher time with sleeping, but, for the most part, she is a very, very good sleeper. I often wonder if Emmeliese sleeps so well simply because she's a different baby, but I have a hunch that it is largely because we're different parents. I am still uptight about a whole bunch of things nowadays. Whether or not she's eaten for the 9 hours she's been asleep is not one of them.

14 August 2009

Calling and family

Over and over again throughout the last few years, I've found myself buying into the idea present in our culture and perpetuated most everywhere that raising children is an interruption in a woman's life purpose. The interruption is to be endured until it can be managed more conveniently, generally through sending a child to school, at which time the woman can get back to or get on with doing whatever it was that gave life meaning and purpose pre-children.
I am finding that over and over again I'm having to remind myself, and friends are having to remind me (thank you, dear Melissa), that calling for me will not arrive apart from a calling for the whole family. Even if the calling is good and honorable and even holy in and of itself, if it is not good and honorable and holy for our family, it's not for me. Even if activities or circumstances or resources or situations would carry blessing for some, if these things wouldn't carry blessing for us, I should not do them.
What I really grapple with is why this is such a difficult thing for me to wrap my head around. Why is "it" always about me, me, me?

12 August 2009

Why we don't say "butt"

Today Daniel got his hair cut. It hadn't been cut since Easter; I thought it was time.

We found a nice barbershop with a nice barber a very nice distance from us. Daniel is naturally cute, but he's even cuter in the barbershop because he sits still, mostly, and talks fairly clearly. The barber was sort of enchanted with him and was playfully asking him if I call him Pumpkin (I don't) or Cookie (I don't) or Sweetie Pie (I do and he answered affirmatively with a big smile).

Then the barber asked, "Does your momma call you Stinky Butt?"

Daniel stopped smiling and looked at me with big eyes.

The barber didn't notice and continued very playfully asking him, "Does your momma ever say, 'Come here, you little Stinky Butt!'?"

Daniel looked very serious and shook his head and said, "No. We don't say 'butt'."
He's right. We don't say butt. We also don't refer to any bodily functions or body parts by their more exciting nicknames.

I realize that we might be almost totally alone in the world in this regard, but there's two very good reasons why...

First, when you are raised to refer to "parts and functions" by their proper names or not at all, you get to experience the thrill of getting to use the nicknames when you and your sisters are far out of the earshot of your mother or at your friends' houses when their mothers are out of earshot.

Second, there is nothing and I mean absolutely NOTHING that compares with the singular joy of hearing a good poo joke or bodily function humor a la Black Adder, or even Shakespeare, for that matter, when you've been raised to believe it's a little naughty. It's just absolutely delicious.

That's why we don't say "butt".

11 August 2009


Dennis got a job offer today from Case New Holland in Goodfield! That's just 7 miles from our house, for those who are not familiar with the terrain in central IL.

We are so thankful. So, so, so, very, VERY thankful! He will start work on Aug. 24 -- one month to the date -- that he was laid off. He'll be doing product development, which is his passion, and his salary and benefits are very similar to his previous position. Except that he gets an extra week in holidays and may get an extra week of vacation. Wow.

We have been all teary and weeping since we heard. God is just so, so, so good to us. My mind cannot really conceive of it all...

10 August 2009

Five months

Today, she's five months old. A little tooth is breaking through her gums and she has been sleepless and sort of grumpy this week. But, oh, she is beautiful and delightful and charming, laughing at her sister and brother, smiling and talking, playing in the exersaucer. Such a joy!

09 August 2009

Sabbath, Queen of the week

Awhile ago, I read an article or post or something or other about how conservative and orthodox Jews sometimes refer to the Sabbath as "Queen of the Week." Many Jews try to arrange their lives to point towards the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not just the last day of the week; it is the week's crowning glory, the pinacle towards which the week is headed. As the Sabbath approaches, everything is arranged to create an atmosphere of worship and rest for the family.

I thought it sounded like a very cool concept. Then the need for a Sabbath re-focus in our family hit us about mid-summer. We had a child meltdown at a church we were visiting and ended up leaving the service early. In analyzing the situation, we realized that the week before it had been completely crazy. The Saturday day preceding the meltdown had been crazy, the night before had been awful. Even Sunday morning was ridiculous. As we drove away from church that morning, we resolved to start thinking differently about our Sundays.

So, we've been trying to arrange our lives so that Sunday is the high point of the week. We're convinced that God created the Sabbath for a very good reason. Plus, we yearn for rest, for time for the family to be together, for special moments. Sabbath is just necessary.

So far, we are doing better at the practical things. We're trying to make sure that clothes are chosen, ironed and accessorized (i.e. shoes are found) before we go to bed. We pack the church bag with Bibles and diapers. And we try to make sure that breakfast is made (I've been making overnight rolls), lunch is on board and dinner is planned on Saturday evening. I've also been making a really conscious effort to discipline my thinking on Sunday morning. For some reason, I can be really grumpy and it just poisons everyone's morning. I've noticed Annalivia has a similar tendency, so we've been talking about being an influence for good. It's helped.

But if feels as though we have a long way to go in terms of how we think about Sabbath. How do we worship more fully? How do we see the day as unique in its blessing? And practically -- how do we rest? How do we capture special moments? What can we do to communicate to our children that the Sabbath really is a precious gift?

Any thoughts -- practical or cerebral/ spiritual? Anyone feel as though you do well with this in your family? I'd love to read about it!

07 August 2009

Recipe: Multi-grain bread

I've finally found a multi-grain bread recipe that works consistently. (The original recipe is here.) I think it's as good as the kind from Panera and costs much less. It's not a dense, chewy bread (i.e. the kind I would much rather have for toast, with soups, etc.) It makes nice, light loaves that are good for sandwiches and are easy to substitute for less healthy bread, since everyone in the family likes it, too.

Multigrain Bread

3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3-5 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups assorted whole grain flours (i.e. millet, kamut, oat flour, rolled oats, wheat germ, corn, etc)
5 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

Mix yeast with water, salt and sugar and let bloom. After the yeast is bubbly, break the yolk on the egg and add it. Then add 3 cups white whole wheat flour. (I use King Arthur brand, but have had good luck with Montana Wheat Prairie Gold). Then add whatever grains you have on hand, pouring them into one-cup measures so that you have approximately two cups of grains. Add wheat gluten. Begin mixing, adding more flour, until dough sticks together well. Knead until dough bounces back when you poke it with your finger. Cover and allow to rise until double, then punch down. Form into two loaves (can be braided), or rolls, or breadsticks or whatever. Cover and allow to rise until doubled again. Then bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until crust is lovely and brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out of pan and cool as long as you can stand it.

Some notes:

  • I make this in my Kitchen Aid mixer. It takes about 5 minutes of mixing. I have no idea how long one would have to knead it.
  • Depending on the humidity, I sometimes have to add a lot more flour than I expect.
  • If you want a nice, soft crust on the bread, use a butter wrapper on the top after you take it out of the pan.
  • This has no preservatives, so be sure to freeze or refrigerate if you are not planning to use it in a day or two.

06 August 2009

Expanding a music library?

If you sign up at emusic.com right now, you can get a two-week trial with 50 downloads for free.

I have not been impressed with their selection of other music, but they have a GREAT basic classical music library. If you are looking to expand your classical music stores (see some of my suggestions here) this can be a great resource.

BEWARE, though -- once the 14-day trial is completed, your credit card will be automatically charged for the next month AND you will lose your 50 downloads, if you have not used them. Don't ask me how I know this. :(

But if you are smart and can use a calendar and have a decent internet connection and can download quickly, I'd highly recommend it!

The Bible in church

The other big thing that has helped our new-found fascination with Scripture around here is that we have enjoyed worshiping with a church that promotes and expects one's actual, physical usage of the Bible in worship, Sunday School, Children's Church, as well as meetings.

This is new for us. We have grown up in, attended (Dennis), and pastored (me) churches that were fairly lectionary-based. The sermons were based on a lection or two, or maybe even four, but generally stuck to those readings only. Sermons typically did not reference other scriptures and line-by-line studies in worship are generally not employed by my colleagues in ministry.

The church we've been attending begins with a call to worship from the Bible, sets up the prayer with a passage, has us flipping back and forth all over scripture during a sermon, and then closes with a Scriptural benediction. I know that for some, this is distracting, but Dennis and I find it sort of thrilling.

The kids are also taught Bible stories exclusively in Sunday School and Children's Church. We've been amazed at the detail with which Annalivia recounts (and Daniel echoes Annalivia) the story of Lydia helping Paul or Paul and Silas bringing down the prison walls or just one leper/ leopard :) returning to thank Jesus, etc. The kids begin every class with a reading from the big-person's Bible. In a few weeks, the church will have a little ceremony and present Bibles to the first graders, since all of them can read and all of them remain in the church service instead of going off to Children's Church. They'll be able to participate with the adults in Bible-reading during worship, and from what I have observed, they do!

Again, all of these may not seem like big things, but for us, such practices have been absolutely liberating. And I mean that in all senses of the word. We feel free in a way we've just not experienced before.

I personally think it has everything to do with the presence and elevation of the Word of God.

05 August 2009

Truer words...

The other day, Annalivia was chattering away about some random thing and I said, "You know, Annalivia, it is really great that you like to talk so much. You have a real gift from God for talking. It will help you a lot in life.
But, people who like to talk need to learn how to listen, too. I'd like you to practice listening, ok?"
She paused for a second and said, "Welllll.... I'm not really a fan of listening..."

04 August 2009

Bread of Life, Living Water, Balm for the Soul, etc.

I wanted to write about something I find has radically changed my life. The introduction of it into my day has changed parenting, marriage, housekeeping, thinking, reading, even eating and driving. It has made life calmer, more peaceful, more productive and more beautiful.

It's Bible study.


I won't embarrass myself by revealing how little I have actually read the Bible (when not required) throughout my life, including during the 7 years I was a pastor. Suffice to say -- not much. In fact, it is only recently that Bible study has become a regular part of my life. And I have to say, I finally understand all of the phrases in the title of this post, as well as the others that describe the Good Book. Seriously. I HUNGER for more. I wake up in the morning eager to read the Bible! I find myself taking little moments through the day to read. I try to force myself to stay up late so I can re-read. I want to memorize scripture and have it in my head! It's amazing! After years of yearning for something more and knowing that I needed to open myself to Jesus through regular Scripture study, I've finally made it a regular part of my life. And I will testify -- there is just absolutely nothing that compares to meeting the presence of the Living Christ revealed in The Word. NOTHING!!!

I know that lots of you have always known that Bible study is a good thing and you saw folks in your family, your churches, your schools, etc. modelling Bible-reading and you might find all of this to be very elementary. But for those who are struggling, I'd like to share some things that have finally enabled this change in my life...

1. I am working on my perfectionism.
Shortly before Emmeliese was born, I realized that I was letting the Enemy use my perfectionism in all sorts of destructive ways. This is the most important change in trying to establish Bible-reading habits because there's grace in the process now. That's huge.

2. It doesn't matter what time of day I read the Bible.

For years, I struggled with Bible study because I had somehow bought into the lie that Bible reading is most effective in the morning before everything else. I somehow never managed to get up before everything else began and, being a perfectionist, decided if I couldn't do it right, I wouldn't do it at all.

3. It doesn't matter what version of the Bible I read.
I am a seminary-trained snob who knows that it would probably be best to read the Bible in some equivalent translation. But halfway through some epistle I'd find myself thinking about my walking shoes. In my perfectionism, I just ended up reading nothing. I've realized that if I am not very familiar with a passage, a timeline, or the emotion behind it, it helps me to read it first in The Message and read until I understand the basics. Then I re-read and study in the NASB. I journal in the NIV. I throw the NRSV and the NKJV in there pretty often, too.

4. Where and how I read the Bible doesn't matter.
I couldn't stick with the Lectionary and the One-Year Bible patterns. When I finally picked up the little New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs I had in The Message, I read through Acts from start to finish. Turns out I had never actually just read through it. Then I went through Romans. And then Galatians. And then on. It was exciting to actually know for sure what was in there. It was amazing to grasp Paul's passion and conviction. It was wonderful to get a sense of sequence, which is something I've never achieved just reading piece-by-peace. On the other hand, I jump around in the Psalms and sometimes in Proverbs.

5. I give myself freedom to explore more, if I want...or not
Over the past few weeks, I've been studying the Fruits of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5. I have been systematic in the approach -- looking up the Greek words, finding out where those words are used elsewhere, writing out scriptures, cross-referencing, comparing translations, etc. It's a slow process. On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I just wanted to get some info in my head about Acts. I just re-read the portions I wanted to read, quickly, in one sitting. After I'm done with the Fruits, I think I'm going to chronicle Paul's journeys on a little time-line. Yeah, I know I can find that online, but the discipline of looking things up is what I'm interested in right now. Again, for me, it is more important to be doing it, than to be doing it "correctly" every time.

6. I incorporate the kids
I don't think I would be doing any Bible study if I hadn't realized I could incorporate the kiddos into it. We read from the Psalms at breakfast, the discuss the psalm during breakfast, then after Breakfast is over and cleaned up, we all get our Bibles out. Annalivia has a Preschool Bible. Daniel has a Toddler Bible. They both have those and pads of paper and a pen in Bible covers. We all spread out our Bibles at the table. They look at their pictures and draw. I look at mine, read, and write. Annalivia and I can usually spend a good half-hour at this. Daniel is usually done in about 15-20 minutes, but as long as he's done some "studying" I let him play. It has been very helpful.

7. I don't expect to hit 100%
This is probably the biggest change. I expect that some days Emmeliese will not take a nap or will not want to be in the bouncy chair long enough to enable a long post-breakfast study. Some nights I'm too tired to read before bed. Some mornings, we do something other than Psalms before breakfast. It's all ok. There's freedom now. I've gotten a taste and I'm seeing God's goodness. I'm not going to put this down. The Word keeps calling to me. I'll keep answering it.

If you have any wisdom regarding Bible study to share, I'd love to read it!

03 August 2009

On blog honesty

One of the things that has been holding me back from blogging is a struggle with what is and is not honest. Sometimes I feel as though I'm representing only part of myself when I blog. On the other hand, I am learning that not every thought that pops into my head, even those that stay there ruminating for a while, need to be shared with every. single. person. Where's the balance? I'm not sure I know.

What I do know is that I've felt as though I've only represented what-I've-wanted-y'all-to-think about me in the past. My great fear in life has always been disappointing people I love. I've made a lot of mistakes in life because of the need for approval from others. But transparency is becoming essential to me, I think. I don't want to present an air-brushed picture of myself taken through a Vaselined lens. What-I-want-you-to- think doesn't take into account the mercies God is showing me in revealing my brokenness. And that's probably pretty much all that's worth sharing on a blog at this point.

Anyway, in an attempt to clear up some misconceptions that I think I've perpetuated, judging by past comments or emails to me, I'll have a little out-ing here and post a list of 25 things about me, as inspired by a list I posted on facebook. There are not the 25 most important things about me, nor are they 25 things that will never change. But they are honest and that's why they are here, now.

25 Non-random things about the author of this blog

1. I love, love, love living in my hometown. I don't care if that is not cosmopolitan or evolved or sophisticated or anything else. I think this place is amazing and thank God every day that I live here again.

2. I'm really excited to have a house of my own, but I constantly fight a desire to make it bigger and better. When my husband lost his job recently, I realized that I could let go of the house very, very easily if it meant having him and the kids. That helps put Victorian-style fainting couches into perspective.

3. The fact that my parents are still married after almost 35 years of marriage is amazing and one of the most inspiring things I've ever experienced. They have not had an easy road, by a long shot, but their story is full of such grace and mercy and forgiveness and learning and growing that continues to unfold. I am so, so, SO thankful that they've made the difficult choice again and again throughout their lives.

4. I love that my husband knows how to do almost everything. I always thought that would annoy me in a spouse, but it doesn't. I love when he's more right that I am. Competency is so virile. And confidence and humility are a powerful combination in a husband.

5. We got together on Ash Wednesday, Mar. 5. I knew without a doubt by Sunday evening that I wanted to marry him. We got engaged on May 4 and married on July 4. It seemed like it took FOREVER.

6. One of my favorite memories from our wedding was when my friends and family, including my 80-year old grandmother, surrounded us and swayed back and forth while holding up candles while we danced to the KISS song, "Forever", which is one of Dennis' faves. My Grammy rocked that song.

7. I think my grandfather is one of the greatest human beings ever born and I miss my Grammy almost every day.

8. I've learned to be a better parent thanks to Keith Lehman, Scott Turansky and JoAnne Miller, Gary Chapman and James Dobson. And Elizabeth Kreuger and maybe even Michael Pearl. Yes, you read that list right.

9. Watching Annalivia being born was probably the most profound and amazing moment of my life. When Daniel was born, I was too exhausted from the 43 hours of labor to properly appreciate the profundity.

10. I think God is breaking me open through my children. This is one reason, among many, that Dennis and I are loathe to limit our family size to what I can conceive physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, etc.

11. I wonder when I share some particular parenting triumph whether I should also disclose the approximately 4.8 billion parenting failures that occurred in the days, hours, minutes and seconds previous to that.

12. My sisters are seriously the coolest human beings on the planet and are my absolute best friends. I adore them.

13. One of my favorite programs ever was "Sir Norbert Smith: A Life!" shown on Masterpiece Theatre here when I was in high school. That and Black Adder pretty much made my sophomore year of high school and began a long, constant and current love affair with English comedies. And dramas. And movies. And books.

14. I can still quote Sir Norbert.

15. I was a pastor for 7 years to a congregation I really loved. But I do not miss being a pastor. Now I am in my hometown as a lay person, of sorts, trying to figure out how to worship in my home church, or not, without wounding people I really love and destroying the vocation God provided me.

16. I love liturgy. I love the pipe organ. I love high church trappings. I love a rockin' band. I love slightly awkward worship-leading praise music. I love spontaneous prayer. I love a humble man leading a congregation in worship, prayer, and teaching. I love a humble woman leading worship, prayer, and teaching. It's when worship, music, pastoring, praying, preaching etc. becomes something to prove or anything other than real and authentic and honest and true that I feel sort of sickened when I encounter it.

17. When I was in seminary, I won an award for constructing a very tight, terribly consistent theology. I now believe that well-constructed, tight and terribly consistent theologies are generally not based in any real God experiences.

18. I have found myself at a point where I can listen to a wide, broad, divergent spectrum of theology -- almost anything, in fact -- and find something of meaning and help to me.

19. I totally love Jesus now. It only took 5 years of ministry for me to have my "kitchen conversion." Before that, I loved people and the church more than Jesus. But people fail, and I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go on in ministry or life without loving, seeking, and knowing the Spirit of the Living God above all else.

20. I've finally learned that there is absolutely no substitute for the presence and power of Christ found in reading, studying, sharing, preaching, teaching and listening to the Bible. Living Water, Bread of Life... I understand those labels now. Finally.

21. My life completely and totally changed due to the events of Sept. 19, 2006 when Dennis and I, and Daniel who was at 18 weeks gestation, survived a major car accident.

22. I became sort of rabidly pro-life after the accident after being sort of rabidly pro-choice before it. Almost everything, politically, changed for me from there. I once was a self-described "flaming liberal." I also hadn't done much thinking. I now consider myself conservative in almost every way, except when it comes tothe gays. I love me some gays.

23. I spend approximately 90% of my time thinking about faith, spiritual disciplines, the church, practical theology, Christian parenting and what to eat next.

24. I have a problem with sarcasm and really am trying not to be ascerbic or condescending or vicious, both in thought and in deed. It's hard.

25. I also struggle with anger, gluttony, sloth, greed, and pride. Oh, and envy. But not so much with lust. So I guess there's hope for me yet. :)

02 August 2009

There's something to say

I may be returning to blogging regularly. I have some things to say, finally, which may be of value to someone beyond myself or beyond the people who see me all the time and are subjected to my miscellaneous ponderings far too often already.
I've struggled with how to say what I feel I want/ need to say and realized the other day that the answer is in the title of this blog which was inspired by the quotes from the Bible way, way down there at the bottom of the page. Especially, there's this Colossians quote ~ "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Col. 4:6).
I'm reminded that what I say here (and everywhere, for that matter) should be carefully-seasoned, full of grace, and desiring to enhance how we serve and love together by Christ's Spirit. I hope that's what anyone reading my words will find. That's what I'll strive to do in the days ahead.
Until tomorrow...

The Special Ks

I was at our church's General Assembly this weekend. I was only there for a brief amount of time, but during that time, I got to see plenty of friends. I was especially excited to see my friend, Kara, aka Special K, aka one of the most hilarious persons on earth.

Special K was a fellow camp counselor in Kentucky when I was in seminary and she was in college. We were co-counselors many times including once for a brand-new cabin that at the time was unnamed. The other cabins in the area were named after historic members of our denomination and we suggested that the new cabins should be named for current-at-the-time leaders. Kara and I called our cabin Updegraff-Spleth after a woman who ended up leaving her position not long after that. The name did not stick, unfortunately. Pity. It was a cool name.

We were also roommates at a couple of Assemblys (Assemblies?) and together witnessed what was surely one of the most comical things I've ever seen when a man tried to run up an escalator that was headed in the "down" direction. He kept tripping, but was not to be deterred. It was the sort of thing that is horrifying, but simultaneously hysterical. Kara, who has the BEST. LAUGH. EVER., began laughing and we could not stop. I still think of that guy and smile.

Anyway, this time, I got to have dinner with Kara and meet her new-ish husband for the first time. He's perfect for her. Totally perfect. When I took their pic, she asked if she could make it to the blog. Here ya go, Special K!

Love always,

Jazzy A