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Best Friend Forever

best-friends-day-2

It’s one of those days: the kind where nothing goes right, nothing feels right, and nothing fixes the problems.

On these days I like to stay in bed.  I know that sounds ridiculous but actually staying in bed is better hiding under the bed.  Yep, I have those days too but I don’t like to talk about them.

I’d be under the bed today if it weren’t for my BFF.  He called and though he didn’t say much; he never does.  He just always says and does the right thing at the right time.

He tells me what’s wrong with me without making me feel like pond scum.

He warns me of the approaching landmines and guides my steps.

When I’ve made a fool of myself; he holds me tight until I feel his tender kisses.

When the world is collapsing around me; he anchors me.  He assures me he’ll never leave me.  His presence shatters my fears.  His love tenderly pulls me from the fetal position into a warrior pose.

When we’re together, I’m complete. His laughter makes my heart sing.  His tears make my heart ache.

I am amazed by his love, astounded by his faithfulness.  Having him is having everything.

He steadies my pendulum.

I can scream in his face, curse his name, reject his love, ignore his voice, avoid his presence, and spew my hatred over all his goodness.  Yet when I come to my senses, see my life without him, he is waiting for me.  He renews me without shame or guilt.

He’s my reality when nothing makes sense.  He’s the only reason to get up each day:  My first love, my best friend, my Supreme Satisfaction.

By the way, my BFF walked on water to pull me out of my pit.

Just saying his name, Jesus, brings tears of joy.

I can now get dressed.  Jesus.  Anyone have a tissue?

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I’m not too old

I bought a carton of crayons for school.  Yes, for me.  Don’t laugh.  I might never tell you another secret.

My textbook said I needed playtime each day.  So I bought a coloring book, watercolors, and a puzzle.  The assignment: do something everyday just for fun with absolutely no purpose or goal in mind.

Just for fun sounded fun, until I tried it.  It wasn’t fun.  I had to time myself.  I had to complete one page before going to the next, even when I didn’t like the picture anymore.  I had to stay in the lines.

So I decided the next time to let Eli join me.  He chattered through the whole process.  He didn’t even see the lines.  He had more fun dumping the crayons on the table and putting them back in the box.

I should have just enjoyed him, but no.  I forced my hand over his and finished the picture, no matter how many times he’d close the book on me.  I’m pretty sure I have a problem.

I’d love to see if your head is nodding or maybe your looking over you shoulder to see if I’m standing there reading your mind.  Raise your hand if you can’t enjoy life because you’re too concerned about being good…enough.

How many opportunities or accomplishments have you missed or quit because your goal was to be the best and you simply weren’t?   I’m ashamed of my number.

Author Rosanne Bane wrote, “Perfectionists think that insisting on near perfect performance from the outset and criticizing themselves for every mistake will make them learn faster, but his actually impairs performance.”

I also read that to become a master in any area of performance 10,000 hours of practice was required.  I did the math.  At my current pace, I’ll need 13 years.  That’s old for me.  So I just stopped blogging.

I’ve been miserable.  Images of ninety-year-old pregnant Sarah haunt my dreams.  Then an archangel flies by with a trailing neon sign, “You’re not too old.”  I wake to the sound of the pounding nails smashing my fingers onto the keyboard.

If it took Noah 120 years to complete the ark, I can strive on.  But I need to learn a few things.

The lines stifle creativity.

Stop when the book is closed.

Go with the new thing even if it gets dumped on you.

It’s more fun when someone else is with you.

So, let me introduce you to Mike’s blog.  Check out my hubby’s new adventure.  I call him a bi-vocational missionary.  His dream: build a business foundation, network and train other CEOs, then use their combined assets to spread the Gospel.  It’s a God thing.

You can read all about it at Patriarchproject.com and be sure to sign up for his email updates.

BTW Do you like the new blog design?

Santa Slayer or Truth Teller?

Last night I did the unthinkable for many Americans.  It was not intentional.  It happened so quickly.  One moment I was telling the greatest story ever told to a room full of eager children, and then the next moment, I announced, “Santa is not real.”

Gasps from the children and adults assured me I had made a huge mistake.  It went something like this…

Me:  An earthquake shook, the soldiers fell as if dead, and the stone rolled away.  Guess what Jesus did?

Kid:  He walked out of the tomb.

Me: He is alive!  God raised Him from the dead.  He died for our sins so that His perfect blood could save us.  He rose from the dead so that we could have new life.  Isn’t that the most wonderful story ever?

Boy:  But how did He die again?

Me:  He didn’t!  He’s still alive!

All Kids:  Really?  Where is He?

Me:  He’s in heaven sitting beside God the Father.  Guess what he’s doing?

Kid:  Watching over us?

Me:  Yes, He’s watching over us but He’s also praying for us.  Right now, He’s praying that each of us will open our hearts to Him, love and obey Him.

Same boy:  Does He watch us in the shower?

All kids:  giggles

Sharon, other teacher:  He watches your heart.

Me:  Jesus loves us so much that He died so we could be free from sin.  He prays for God’s children and He watches over us.

Girl:  Just like Santa.

Me:  OH, He’s so much better than Santa.  Jesus is real and Santa is not.

It went downhill from there.  A perfect moment when the kids were so engrossed to my words that they are almost in my lap with anticipation.  How did Santa come into the picture and ruin everything?  It was a God moment.  Everything in me cringed when I heard Jesus compared to Santa.  I couldn’t let it stay in their minds like that.

I wanted the kids to leave there knowing the amazing love of their Savior, instead they left wondering about Santa.  And of course within 10 minutes, I had an irate parent rebuking me for my ignorance.  Shaming me for what I did.  Informing me that though her daughter loved coming to Kids Club, she would never be allowed to return.

Then the mom said, “I know Santa is not real but it’s my place to decide when to tell my children the truth.”  Yes, it is the parents’ responsibility to tell their kids the Truth, not mine.  Someday she (and a million other parents) will stand before Almighty God and before His Glory they will wonder why they ever chose to lie to their children.

I struggled all night.  The people-pleaser me was devastated by her attack.  The fearful me was afraid of more attacks.  The insecure me shamed myself for not having more control over my tongue and ruining everything.   The Spirit in me prayed.

Father, take my blunder and make it wise.  Open the hearts and minds of the children to see Jesus as Real.  Your name being honored is all that matters.  Heal the hurts.  Crush the lies.  Bring us into unity with You.  Protect the children and the truths stored in them.  Give me wisdom to face the attacks.  May everyone involved see Your glory.  Amen

 

How has Santa become such a force that when exposed for the lie that it is, rage ensues?    That young girl’s simple statement showed me that in her mind, Santa is a god equal to Jesus.  Has Santa become an American birthed religion?

How is this child going to feel when she realizes she is banned from hearing the truth?   How do children cope once they learn every adult they trusted has lied to them?  I was never taught to believe in Santa so I have no experience to relate.

Will you share?

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Be Grateful

I wrote the following blog last week.  Since that time, Mike’s beloved Grandma Po stepped into glory.  Some of the last words anyone heard her speak were, “I want to go home.  Take me Jesus.”  I am grateful to be a member of her family.

I read this week where a famous actor was asked to describe how he felt as he reached the 80 year milestone.  He was terrified of dying.  He envied anyone who had hope in an afterlife.  My heart aches for those who live their lives empty chasing after the things of this world.  They exist void of the blessings of God and family.

Grandma Po lived a simple life compared to most.  For nearly a century she never wandered far from her birthplace nor the birthplace of her children, grandchildren, and great and great great-grandchildren .  How could anything entice her away from those she loved most?

She was quiet, sweet-spoken, prim and proper.  She logged thousands of hours as a hospital volunteer and as many miles running in marathons when most her age watched on the sidelines.  But the highlight of her accomplishments could be measured every Sunday evening when her children gathered together in her living room to share stories of the past week and of the good ole days.

That’s how I want to remember Po.  Rocking in her favorite chair, arms crossed, smiling broadly as her beloved Eugene, Jeanine, and Karen came home each week and for a few hours were once again her children.   She wanted nothing more of this world but to be their mother.  

I can so relate.  I dream of being somebody, of doing something to make a difference in this world, and making my family proud of me.  Yet those are just dreams that pass away the second I see my kids and my grandson.  Nothing on this earth would fulfill me more than to have a Gramma house where weekly my family would come together and allow me to once again be their mother hen.  

It’s the simple things of life that matter most.  Thanks Po!  Your legacy will never be forgotten.  Someday we’ll join together for a reunion that will never end.  Until then, I love you.

I am grateful for all the failed thanksgiving turkeys in my history.  To each of those disgusting, over-cooked, dry birds, I say thanks.  Your waste was to my gain.  I sought hard for the perfect recipe and finally succeeded.

Anyone out there want to impress your family and friends?  This recipe may help.

Brine your bird 4-6 hours (as long as it’s not already basted or kosher)

One-cup salt per gallon of water as needed to immerse the bird.  I use a garbage bag with bird and salt water sealed tightly inside then submerged in a cooler with ice water.   The brining salt seals in the juices so you are guaranteed no more dry birds.

At least 8 hours before baking, place the brined and rinsed bird on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate.   Yes, that’s uncovered, butt-naked.  This will insure an evenly browned coat.

Ready to roast in 400-degree oven on V-shaped rack.  Brush butter over skin of turkey.  No need of basting while baking.

Here’s the key, roast breast-side down for 1st 45 minutes.

Remove roasting pan, close door to maintain temperature, and carefully flip the bird.  Continue roasting breast side up until thickest part of breast registers 165-degrees.  I recommend a remote control thermometer so you can relax and enjoy your family while the bird bakes.

Final step and super important….let turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.

I know it takes 2 days and some preplanning but the way I see it, for the family,  it’s worth it.

My family asks for a turkey dinner once a year but they beg for my sausage apple stuffing as often as I will make it.  Since Thanksgiving is a time to share, here’s the recipe.

Saute over medium heat: 2 TBS of butter, 2 yellow onions diced, and 3 garlic cloves minced.  (I normally go more on the garlic!)  Salt and pepper.  When onions are soft, add ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 Golden Delicious apples peeled and cut into small cubes, and ¼ cup dry white wine.  Cook until wine has reduced, about 10 minutes.  Transfer this mixture to large bowl.

In same pan, brown one-pound pork sausage.  Add sausage to apple mixture.  Add two boxes of turkey stuffing mix with the seasoning spices.  I also cut 5-6 slices of fresh bread into cubes and add to the mixture.  Not sure why, but my momma always did, so I do it too.

As I mix this all together, I add chicken broth, about 4-5 cups.  You want it moist but not soggy.

Transfer to pretty rectangular baking dish.  Brush butter across the top.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in 350-degree oven.

Sadly, being vegetarian, I can’t indulge in either of these.  But I am blessed with all the ‘yums’ I hear around the table.

If you ask, I’ll share their favorite dessert recipe, Pumpkin Bars with cream cheese icing.

Until next week, have a blessed Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your loved ones!

Anyone want to share a thanksgiving tradition we can begin this year with Eli?

Hello world!

Today the world became smaller for me.  I’m sitting at my keyboard, in my small block house, in the desert of Arizona terrified.  Maybe confused and anxious.  Admittedly a little excited.  Most of all just terrified because I know that when I press the post button, my thoughts are no longer just mine but are publised for all who explore in the world wide web.  I tread carefully.  God’s word in Matthew 12:36-37 cautions me: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  I’m quite certain spoken or typed makes no difference to the Lord.  Therefore, I start this new adventure in my life with a promise to you, my readers.  I will guard my thoughts and words to be under the control of His Spirit so that everything expressed on this blog will bring Him glory. 

Raise your right hand and repeat this promise with me.  Thanks!  Let the journey begin…