Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmastime is here...

...Happiness and cheer

We are officially on Christmas break and my little family couldn't be happier! Even now I can hear little hands dragging through piles of matchbox cars, or is it legos? There is a soft hum coming from the direction of my daughter, as she absent-mindedly makes her way through her Christmas carol repertoire. The fireplace is keeping us toasty and there will be cookie baking soon. Are you enjoying these precious days with your kids home from school? What will you do to help them create memories to cherish? Will you bake with them (see for a great Gingerbread Baby recipe)? Perhaps you'll pop corn and string it while you watch a movie (White Christmas is a favorite around here). I hope you plan to sip hot chocolate, piled high with marshmallows, and snuggle in a cozy spot with a great book (For little kiddos, look for Bear Stays Up, Harold at the North Pole, and Cranberry Christmas; for bigs, you can't go wrong with The Bobbsey Twins or Happy Hollisters, and for you, I love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). Don't forget to sled with the kids (if you have snow, which we don't, boo hoo) or take a meandering walk through the woods (why not pick up pine cones while you're at it). Have soup on the stove for when you get back inside. Chicken is always a favorite.

Enjoy these days. Relish the rollicking running in and out and in and back outside again. Pleasure in the peace of a pile of kids with a plethora of page turners. Savor the sweet sticky smooches of candy cane lips. Build snow forts or blanket forts or eat under the dining room table. Set aside the every day (you didn't really want to do laundry today did you?) and dive headlong into the childish delight in today. Have fun with each of these days. Unwrap them like a gift placed before you at the dawn of each wool gray morning.

Happy happy winter vacation! Bliss!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Wise Man Once Said...

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

It wasn't just any wise man that penned these oft-quoted words. No, it wasn't The Byrds. It was King Solomon. His wisdom was a special blessing from God and these words are God-breathed, inspired truth from the very heart of God. It would seem almost foolish to try to mess with these timeless and profound truths, but if you will indulge me, I am struck with some personal applications. Consider it my effort to apply the truth of this particular passage of Scripture to my life this week.

1 There is a time for everything, (but, I fear, not nearly enough time to do everything! What am I missing?!)
and a season for every activity under the heavens (there seem to be seasons when there are almost too many activities under this family's roof!):

2 a time to be born and a time to die, (and a time to grieve with friends who face the latter rather than the former)
a time to plant and a time to uproot, (and a time to rake and rake...and rake)
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, (and a time to admit defeat with the houseplant in the other room, pitch it, and start again)
a time to tear down and a time to build, (and a time to do both - we are nearing the end of our addition! Hooray!)
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, (I love the times when one turns to the other - this usually means I am with dear friends)
a time to mourn and a time to dance, (I mourn with my friend, and I remember that we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. I think I will refrain from dancing, lest I cause anyone else to mourn)
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, (a time for a ground breaking, perhaps...I just participated in one recently...A wonderful new facility for the elderly, where Christian hearts will put their hands to good use loving the aging saints)
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, (it's always a good time to embrace my husband and children...and praying and trusting God for each of our faithfulness in our marriage - in here lies the refraining)
6 a time to search and a time to give up, (Black Friday anyone?)
a time to keep and a time to throw away, (I'll be moving into a new closet soon!)
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, (this is my mom's job - thanks for all the altering and fixing you've done lately!)
a time to be silent and a time to speak, (Have you heard the words of Emerson? Let us be silent that we may consider the wonderful works of the Lord? Or perhaps with words of James, "Let us be swift to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry," Lord, may my words be few and filled with truth)
8 a time to love and a time to hate, (love God, one another; hate evil, sin...)
a time for war and a time for peace. (maybe it's a war on stains? a war on tub scum? War on mildew? or, elevating things, a war against pride, selfishness, temptation, an unbridled tongue...If it be possible, as much as is in you, live peaceably with all men)

Seasons change. Here in the chilly north, we've seen hail and snow already. The leaves have lost their vibrancy and made their brown beds in heaps in yards and ditches. Our pumpkins awake kissed with frost and the last of the fall mums shiver as they raise their heads to the far-off rays of November sun. The freshly sharpened pencils that once graced school desks have been replaced by their homelier cousins, all stubby and bitten and bereft of erasers. Mornings dawns with a persistent, blaring alarm with no accompanying wake-up call from the sun. It is sometimes hard to say goodbye to the crisp sweetness of fall, bracing myself for the long cold winter ahead. This year, will you join me in my effort to embrace the changes and trust God to get us through whatever season of life in which He places us, reaching for His guiding hand, trusting Him for each step, whether they be through cheerfully rustling leaves, muddy puddles, uncertain icy patches or deep drifts that threaten to hold us cold and fast in one spot?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grain Powered

Do your kids play hard? Do you work hard? Around here, I'd like to think we do things with gusto - work hard, play hard, sleep hard! So, today I decided to try a hard core snack for my little crew. I modified the original recipe a bit to accommodate my pantry. Disclaimer: The original called these "bars," but mine never really stuck together enough to be cut. When I tried, I decided this was more of a granola type deal. ;0) Enjoy!

1 1/2 cup crispy brown rice cereal (these are like Rice Krispies, but made from brown rice)
1 1/4 cup rolled oats (I'm sure you could use quick oats, but I used rolled)
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup dried blueberries)
3/4 cup nuts (I used pecans, which are more kid-friendly around here than walnuts)
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup oat bran
3 T crystallized ginger
1 cup pure maple syrup (orig called for brown rice syrup)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla

Combine cereal, nuts, oats, oat bran, dried fruit, and ginger in a large bowl. Bring syrup, sugar and salt to boil, stir about a minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over dry mixture until well coated. Spread into a prepared 9x13 pan (recipe called fro coconut oil. I just used Pam.) Allow to set (like I said, mine never did - so if you allow it to cool, then just dig in, I think you'll be satisfied.)
~ recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Cooking

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How majestic!

When was the last time that you had a moment when you stopped to truly appreciate the marvelous creation around you? I think we often take for granted this grand display that is before us, wherever we are on God's green earth. I took this picture while on vacation in Tennessee. You know how people sometimes call a place, "God's country?" While there may be places, like these misty mountains, that remind us with a louder proclamation that we have this great Creator, let's try to always remember that the evidence of His handiwork is all around us. Perhaps you hear the Creator's whisper in the stillness of morning, dew fresh on your grass and garden. Maybe you discern His voice in the cry of tree frogs as dusk falls. Some might witness the majesty of His greatness as the sun heaves itself up and over sky scrapers, dwarfing them with its grandeur. Wherever you live, whatever you see outside your window as you scrub dripping dishes or fold seersucker sundresses or file mountains of papers, join me in praising the One who spoke the world into being with the power of His Word.

LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]
You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their[g] feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green

What do you get when you take perfectly yummy and traditional smoothie ingredients like milk and frozen fruit and add things like protein powder and green, leafy vegetables? You get a smoothie worthy of Popeye! So, I know that "green smoothies" are not new. Earthy, healthy vegetarians and vegans all over have probably been concocting and drinking these power-packed little uglies for ages. However, they are new to me. A dear friend, one who encourages me in all good things, recently texted me a picture of her first green monster, and has since shared with me her thorough enjoyment of them. So, this week I decided to try them. I've made three and this is my favorite combination so far. I'm thrilled that I found a way to like this because, wow, they are healthy and sustaining. I really am not hungry for hours and hours after sipping one of these thick things! ;0)

East your heart out Popeye!

2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup chopped, peeled kiwi
two handfuls fresh spinach
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (look for unsweetened) I actually used only about 1/2 - 3/4 scoop
1 cup almond or soy milk - today I used light soy

Blend in blender until smooth. This makes a pretty big smoothie - either share with someone or reduce amount as desired - don't save it. It is not good leftover.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back to Basics Sandwich

ABC Sandwich
(no, that doesn't mean already been chewed...)

Apple - Granny Smith, cored and sliced thin
Bacon - 2 or 3 crispy strips (I like thick cut)
Cheddar - 1 slice white or any sharp Cheddar cheese
Dijon Mustard - spread on whole grain bread
Fyi - this is great if you also add lettuce and tomato!
Grain (whole grain) bread and

Husband of my youth

Our anniversary is this Friday. We will celebrate our 17th year of marriage. This summer marks 21 years since we started dating, and about 23 years since this handsome boy walked into my life. He was thin and tall, dark-haired and handsome. We were friends first and for a very long time before he first held my hand and the twinkle in his eye changed to a special look that was just for me. We laughed together then. Lots of laughter. We walked and talked together on soft, summer beaches. We drove around in his little stick shift (which he handily taught me how to drive) and listened to music and shared our dreams. We watched movies and ate junk food. We raced down sand dunes and snow hills. Did I mention we laughed? :D

Once, when we were engaged, a well-meaning person, witnessing our laughter and youthful messing around, asked if I realized that this buddy of mine was going to be my husband. I think this person thought we were too young (we were 20 and 21), or having too much fun just goofing around (we may have been having a water fight at the time!) to be taking seriously what we were about to undertake together. I got the impression he thought we were going to have to stop being buddies so we could be husband and wife.

He was right and oh, so wrong. He was right because we were young and we were buddies. We loved to have fun together, and we had no idea what we were getting into together! At 20, as I looked into the face of my handsome groom, I had no idea what the years would hold. Does any bride or groom?

That early concerned bystander was wrong, though. I'm so glad we didn't take his words to heart and stop being buddies. We never stopped. We love each other more today that we had the capacity to love on our wedding day. But also, we really really like each other. We are still friends. We still laugh. Actually, we laugh a lot (did I mention we have four children and a giant, beast of a dog?). We still watch movies (the junk food has to be kept in moderation now, though). We still walk (hand in hand unless our hands are full of wagon handles and ice cream cones and sticky little fingers) and drive (road trips that sometimes test the bounds of sanity) and talk (catching up - "What do we have going on this week?) and talk (serious business..."Number 3 had an incident at school today..."). Now, though, we also share so much more. God has built us a family. He has sustained our marriage. He has given us ministry together, ways to serve Him. He displays His grace and His splendor in the day to day of our family.

I am thankful for my husband. He is a joy to me. The life we have is the one I never imagined in front of that church on an oppressively hot June day. It has gone beyond the scope of my naive twenty year-old understanding. They say that the young are the ones dreaming about the future. That may be, but it is the rest of us, living out the future one precious, unexpected day at a time, that truly understand the stuff that dreams are made of.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Aunt Lindsey's Sticky Popcorn

If ever a day called for a fun after school snack, it is an April Monday that started with us waking up to snow! As one friend so aptly put it, it would have been a beautiful and thrilling scene had it been the first snow of the season. Instead, we are closer to May than March and we had finally put away all the bundling gear and the snow was a little disappointing! As #4 innocently mis-quoted the old saying recently, "April Fools bring May flowers!" The snow was no April fool's joke, and neither is this yummy treat. Enjoy!

(Oh, and a word to the wise, stale marshmallows just make for "stuck popcorn" not sticky popcorn. Just trust me and go get a fresh bag! ;0)

12 large marshmallows (or about half a bag of minis)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1 bag microwave popcorn (I wouldn't use kettle, as this recipe makes the popcorn sweet enough!)

Melt marshmallows, brown sugar and butter in microwave, at 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until marshmallows are very soft, large and fluffy (this is fun to watch!) Stir until a thick sauce develops. Pour in large bowl (spray it first with some cooking spray) with the popped microwave popcorn and toss until well coated.

Note: Make sure you get out the un-popped corn before you add the "sticky."

Eating it right out of the bowl in which you made it is fun. All hands on deck! Or, place a serving in cute plastic cups. I'd avoid anything like paper towels or napkins, - yikes!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baker's Dozen

It's been so long, that I thought I would take a few minutes to reconnect. I've been busy living life, as I am sure you all have. Isn't it fun to see spring starting to peek through the last vestiges of winter snow and mud? Have you seen a Robin yet? How about a crocus? For us, spring means the bayou is finally ice-free and we get the treat of having lots of migrating birds pass through our little water stop. We've had Merganser Ducks lately. They are big and striking. I'll include a picture soon.

For now, I'll leave you with thirteen (that's the generous baker's dozen) things I hope to do during our upcoming spring break at home.

1. Bake bread (This is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen!)
2. Clean windows and screens (maybe if the screens are ready, it'll soon be warm enough to open those windows!)
3. Take naps (I don't think daily is too often when on vacation!)
4. Keep up with my Bible reading (Never take a vacation from that!)
5. Paint the bathroom. (Not sure if this is on my husband's list, though, so we'll see...)
6. Go to a baseball game with friends (Home opener weekend!)
7. Yard clean-up - maybe the ground will be soft enough to plant some spring bulbs!)
8. Clean out the garage (it's not pretty in there...)
9. Visit the library (we need to stock up for a week of lazy afternoons!)
10. Lunch and shopping with my mom (It's just fun, even if we don't buy anything!)
11. Date with my husband (a necessity)
12. Meal planning for April and May (things get hairy when we get back into things after vacation...busy weeks ahead)
13. Drink tea and read books (I'm with C.S. Lewis, no cup big enough, no book long enough or me! :0)

There's nothing like staying home for real comfort. Jane Austen

Friday, January 14, 2011


From an outsider's perspective, my days likely appear to be unremarkable. There is much folding of laundry, preparing of meals, wiping of counters, swiping of sticky faces. We come and go much like any other family, to school, shopping centers, soccer complexes, and church. We shuffle paper (seriously, there is so much paper in my life!), cleats, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and schedules. Nothings special here.

But wait. My ordinary life is not as bland as it sounds. My marriage of almost seventeen years is a place of solace and joy and laughter and faithfulness and commitment. My children thrive with health and happiness and security. My deepest parts, the place where my spirit resides, rest easy in perfect, quiet peace, the kind that passes all human understanding, and revels in joy, the kind that bubbles up from a wellspring of life.

We believe in God. I believe in God. This God is the One True God, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, of Israel, and of my heart. He is the Creator of the Universe, the Savior, the God Who Sees, the Redeemer, the Holy One. Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit.

He makes me special. He made me in His image. He calls me His own. He covers me with His Righteousness. He redeemed me and put His claim on me. I am no longer my own, but His.

He makes us special. He guides our family, and provides for us. He is the all-sufficient One who sustains us. Into our ordinary days, He infuses His presence and holds us together.

This is what is remarkable about our lives. He is in it. The Lord of All is in the details of our lives. He protects our marriage, He guards our hearts. He draws our children to Himself, teaching them more and more, instilling them with understanding.

I once saw a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie called the Magic of Ordinary Days. The title often makes me think of my life. However, it isn't magic that we experience. It is the awesome power of a personal God. This is the Supernatural Power of Ordinary Days.