Just Not Geeky Enough

Sometimes I wish I were  a technology geek.  When I woke up this morning, it was with a firm resolve to “fix” things up around here.  After going through the wordpress tutorial I managed to change the theme and  customize my heading, but beyond that I didn’t get very far.  I can’t figure out how to get the twitter widget to work.  I’m pretty sure it’s the theme I chose that won’t let me add that widget, but I’m not positive.  I give up.  Not really. I just don’t care enough to keep messing around with it today.

It’s funny how different people’s blogs are.  While reading through the wordpress tutorial, their advice for figuring out what the nature of your blog would be was very interesting.  Kind of felt like a homework activity to me, and I just skimmed over that part since I already know what the point of my blog is.  It did get me wondering how people choose what they’re going to write about.  I get it if your blog is a food blog. You write about food and recipes.  Mine is mainly my thoughts on life, and how I try (and lots of times fail) to stay positive. One of my favorite blogs, is very well done and consistent in it’s writing.  Not to mention hilarious!  I really wanted to add a blogroll widget also, so I could share with you all the blogs I regularly read (I think that is a big tell as to the kind of person someone is.) Couldn’t figure out how to do that either.  Where’s the Nerd Herd when you need them?!?  Which brings to mind that Chuck and White Collar have new episodes starting up this week. Oh yeah!!

All day, every day, as I think about things I get ideas for stuff I want to share with you guys here.  If I don’t write stuff down, it’s usually lost among the massive amount of other things I have to remember.  Which means, if by the time I have a chance to sit down and write something, it’s still there, it’s a pretty important thought I want to share.  The thought was this: I cooked all this week!  Yes, I do realize this is not headline news or earth shatteringly amazing, but it’s what I thought about a lot this week.  The reason it stuck with me is that I hate to cook.  I’m not good at it.  I try new recipes for my family, and no one likes them.  I cook the same old stuff and everyone is bored with eating the same old thing.  This has been a battle for me for all of my married life.  17 1/2 years I’ve been in this struggle.  I’m tired of fighting.  The issue is that I’m the mom. The wife.  It’s not that it’s my job to do the cooking per say, as opposed to my husband’s, but the man will admit to you that he can’t even boil water.  It’s true. So that leaves this family in quite a quandary.  People need sustenance. People have their likes and dislikes. I always say if there was one thing I could hire out, it would be the cooking.  I just want there to be FOOD ready when we need to eat. That’s it.

With all that in mind, at the beginning of the year when I was reflecting on the things I would like to see change in 2011, I said an arrow prayer about the whole darn cooking thing. (an arrow prayer is one of those thoughts you just kind of shoot up to God. It’s a quick thing.) I think I said something like this, “God, help me WANT to cook for my family. I can’t fight this stupid battle anymore.”  That was it. Amen. End of prayer. End of that thought really.

The reason the whole “I cooked this week” was profound for me, was that God has answered that prayer with, “Sure, ok.”  It’s not that all of the sudden I desire to spend hours in the kitchen making my family from scratch, down on the farm, perfectly balanced meals.  That my friends, would land under the category of “miraculous.”  It’s just that it didn’t bother me so much to cook this week.  I did give the from-scratch thing a try a couple times, but balanced it out with packaged things.  Like when I made bbq beef brisket with instant mashed potatoes.  This morning I made Amish Baked Oatmeal.  From scratch!  I would say I am so proud of myself, but I’m not really.  The feeling I most have is gratefulness that God is helping me through this.  It IS my job to provide my family with healthy meals.  I need to suck it up and do it, but in His great grace and mercy, He is helping me not to hate it.  Maybe not hating it will one day lead to enjoying it, but one day at a time, people, one day at a time.

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Oh meal and Ehmo and other joys

Today I realized how seldom I actually sit with my “lap”top in my lap.  I usually sit at out dining room table, and while our chairs are comfy (IKEA!) they aren’t as comfy as my couch!  So today’s post is coming to you straight from my couch where my laptop is warming my knees, and the dog is warming my feet.

I’m home again. My trip to Philadelphia was fun and filled with lots of good times. Minus the travel hassles which were plentiful.  My flight from Chicago to Philly ended up leaving very late because they couldn’t find someone actually ON the plane yet they had his boarding pass. The disappearing man? Thankfully I roll well with things like that and had a huge novel along, so I was fine with it.  I was not as fine when after 45 minutes of waiting for my luggage to come around carousel 8, I realized something was wrong.  Talking with the Southwest lady confirmed that.  My luggage had not stopped in Philadelphia with me.  My guess is it went on to Boston with all those grumpy people on my flight who were yelling about missing their connecting flights to Beantown.  This was never confirmed.  After getting the correct documents I was picked up by my mom and her friend Richard.  I spent the night at their house, and we had a great dinner of chicken and waffles with my brother and his wife.  In August they are expecting their first baby! I’m going to be a real auntie!  Late in the evening I called the airline, and they had located my bags and they were on their way back to Philly. I’m glad that on Southwest bags fly free, I’d just prefer they didn’t fly alone.

On a little side note: while I gone, my husband decided to try Netflix for a month.  My children’s joy knows no bounds!  Oddly enough they have used this to catch up on all the Veggietales they have missed since they stopped being interested in Veggietales…oh, around 5 years ago!  Go figure.  They are currently watching “Madame Blueberry.”  A blast from their past.  I love my girls.

My Mom had taken Monday off, so we went to visit my Aunt Anne who wasn’t feeling well enough to come over for dinner. It was nice to visit with her and my Uncle David.  We went back to my Mom’s house to see if the luggage had arrived. It hadn’t.  I called yet again to find out when the courier had picked it up (at 9:15am) and found out that there was a 4-6 hour window during which it would be delivered.  When it hadn’t arrived by the 6.5th hour, I called again. I’m annoying like that. I was most concerned about my Chi. It being the most expensive thing in my luggage.  And I was kind of missing my clothes. My Mom was nice enough to share, but she is petite and I am not.  Her sweater didn’t quite come to my wrists.  While I was on the phone with Southwest, my luggage came!

Richard and my Mom drove me the 30 minutes to my friend’s house where I would stay the rest of my trip.  Barb just had her second baby a month ago, and I was there to play with B (who is now almost 18 months old and too cute for words!) and help out with A (also known as Bubby.)  Oh the joy!  New baby head smell and the sweet sounds of a little one!  I got to watch lots of PBS kids shows (Barney is still on?!?…really?!?)  Although, B’s favorite is Elmo.  (For the record ‘Sid the Science Kid’ may be the most annoying show on the planet.) The chant of “Ehmo, Ehmo, Ehmo!” was heard regularly.  I so miss the fun of having a toddler, but I do recall how much work they are.  B is a great eater (and Barb is a great Mom feeding her all kinds of healthy things.)  Her favorites are “oh meal” (oatmeal), “nanas” (banana), “gapes” (grapes), and “gook” (cream cheese on a bagel.)  For Christmas I got her a  “Duck and Goose” board book with little finger puppets.  She loves her Duck and Goose (she calls them Duck and Noose.)  I also got her an Elmo back pack that is just a little too big for her, but she wore it around the house all the time.  I can’t tell you how much that girl made me laugh and smile! We called my girls on facetime on my iphone, and she got the idea, so you better believe I’ll be calling her on her Daddy’s iphone so we can stay connected!

The new baby (or Bubby, as B calls him) is adorable!! He’s so new and cute and all things sweet baby.  I got to spend many beautiful hours rocking him, burping him, and cuddling so Barb could get some stuff done, or just take a shower. She kept thanking me for helping out, and I kept thanking her for sharing.  I would love to share some of the ridiculously cute pics I got of Bubby, but I didn’t ask Barb if I could, and I don’t feel right sharing pics of other peoples bebes.  My friends in the band, Reilly, who live in the Philly area, also welcomed two new babies into their families recently. I got to hold 1 week old, Vera Noele, and was a little sad that it didn’t work out for me to meet 2 day old, Suki An, but they had just brought her home the day I was flying out.  Next time I see them it will be summer, and all the babies will be SO much older.  Our friend Sarah came over with her baby, S, who is around 14 months old.  It was baby heaven for me!  So many babies to cuddle and love on!  I will miss that.

Barb and I got to have lots and lots of time to talk! It’s nice that her kids are little and while we were taking care of them, we could talk and encourage one another in our struggles and joys of life, without their little ears being tuned to everything you say.  That’s one thing about kids (especially teenagers.) They listen to everything you say when it’s not being addressed to them.  We even got to watch “Inception” one night with Barb’s husband after B went to bed.  We had a lot of fun talking and laughing together and reminiscing our early years as friends in middle and high school. I am SO blessed to have a friend like her!  Someone who has known me for that long, and we can pick up like we don’t live states away from each other.  We also had the time to color each others hair, and decided that while these are the best years of our lives to date, we will fight the gray hairs. She is so dear to me!

I’m home now.  Back to the world of teenagers and getting calls from work (we go back on Monday.)  It’s been a great 2 weeks off!  I don’t feel at all ready to jump back into our normal school-year routine.  My sleep schedule is way off, and I’m sure next week is going to be hard.  Really hard.  Oh, and it’s snowing.  I’m still in my new purple owl jammies, and not showered or ready to go anywhere.  But, the kids have a birthday party to go to tonight.  Sigh. Back to real life.  At least I had some “oh meal” for breakfast and had a good smile and laugh over the memories made this past week!

Happy New Year!

My husband is currently pointing a rifle across my living room. Not to worry though, it’s a BB rifle and there’s nothing in it. It looks very ‘real’ though, and has a scope and everything. Maybe it’s a midlife thing or something. He has never, in all our 17 years of marriage, been interested in things that shoot.  When I asked why he decided to make this purchase he said it was to shoot those nasty squirrels that keep trying to make their home in our deck.  Ok then.

That’s what’s going on this morning (um, almost afternoon) at our house. Happy New Year! Last night we got to ring in the new year with our long time friends who we spend nearly every new year’s eve with.  There’s a lot of tradition involved, and it’s always a good time.  Last night was especially sweet since their sister and her family have just recently moved back home from being missionaries all over the globe.  To have them there with us was awesome!

The kids had the Xbox or the Wii going most of the night, and we played many, many hands of a card game called, Big Boss/Little Boss.  I made it to Big Boss once, but was quickly taken down by my very competitive daughter.  We had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun.  It was loud!  There were 8 adults, 14 kids, and 1 rowdy dog.  So the miracle is always getting this crew to settle down for the traditions of the evening.

The journals came out around 10:30.  We started off with a very talented young man from Colorado Springs playing “How He Loves” on his guitar.  It was a sweet time of worship (with a lovely interpretive dance by the youngest member present 🙂   Someone from each of the families represented prayed for our year ahead, and then the journaling began in earnest.  There are always 4 questions put to each person, and their answers are recorded for posterity’s sake.  We did take some time to look back at the journal from 1998.  To see how we’ve all changed and grown since that time is amazing!  The questions were, #1- What was your greatest accomplishment in 2010? #2- What was the greatest tragedy for you personally in 2010? #3- What do you most want to see happen in 2011? and #4- What do you resolve to change or do better in 2011?

Now, as I said, there were 22 people present ranging in age from 5 to 56.  To get through everyone thinking of their answers and for Josh (the Big Boss of the journal) to record them all, took a good long time.  The kids answers are always the best. There were accomplishments like getting baptized, learning to swim (not at the same time ;), getting good grades, learning an instrument, and taking dance class.  The tragedies were the hardest to hear, but really give us time to pause and see how we’ve come through those things with God’s grace and love.  They ranged from D’s in math to losing a house due to finances and another family lost their home to fire. Everyone has high hopes for 2011, and almost all the kids answered they want to see themselves grow closer to God this next year.  If that doesn’t make a parent cry tears of joy and gratitude, I don’t know what will!  The main resolution of the family we were with is to get in better physical shape this next year.  They are doing a “Biggest Loser” challenge with each other, and all the participants weighed in (after we all ate a considerable amount of chips and queso) to be recorded in the journals as well.  I played along, even though I don’t intend to participate in their challenge. For the record…184 (after queso.)

I thought I’d share my answers to those 4 questions to start off this new year:

#1- My greatest accomplishment of 2010 was learning to relax and live in the moment. The benefits of that have been huge for me, and I feel like I’ve had the greater ability to see things through God’s eyes.  I see Him more and more in the little (and big) moments of life when I’ve stopped stressing and just learned to “be”.

#2- The greatest tragedy of 2010 for me was that I didn’t invest in friendships like I could have.  We left our church of 18 years at the end of last year, and spent this past year trying to find a new church home.  We’ve found the place we’re pretty sure God wants us at, but it doesn’t feel like home yet.  In all that, I feel like I’ve let the friendships I had at our last church go by the wayside. Not on purpose, not because we can’t be friends anymore, just because we don’t see each other on a regular basis.  It’s hard to be purposeful about relationships.

#3- What I most want to see happen in 2011 is the fingerprints of God more clearly.  I want to have the kind of vision that lets me be even more aware of HIM in every moment and every breath of my day.

#4- I hate resolutions because I always feel like a failure when I don’t actually fulfill them. Which in reality, how many of us actually DO?  But, it’s always good to challenge ourselves, so I determined that this year I’m going to attempt to read a non-fiction book every month.  I’m a reader. This shouldn’t be hard, right?  Confession time…I feel stupid.  When my 14 year old wants to read Homer’s  “Odyssey” FOR FUN, come on! I can read some biographies or something.  I most enjoy reading fiction novels.  If it’s a well-written story, I can get through one in a day.  Non-fiction books, well…it’s tough for me to get into them.  The only one I read through pretty easily was Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love”.  I’m looking forward to getting some of his other books to help me with this resolution.  I’m not sure where the idea that I’m stupid if I only read novels came from, but yet it’s there in my head. It tells me to be at all intelligent I need to read smart books by Watchman  Nee. I’ve tried. I couldn’t get through it.  I’ll keep trying, or just decide it’s ok not to be smart.

Welcome to 2011! How would you answer those 4 questions?? Really, I want to know!