Monday, December 13, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Ok, on to the cooking!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
9:00AM Watched a bit of the Macy's parade with my kids before heading for the kitchen and leaving them to it. I'm making a persimmon cheesecake that needs to get baked so it has the time to cool. Just got as far as pressing the crust into the springform pan before Q took the oven over for roasting chestnuts for the stuffing. Ah well, cleaned up the kitchen a bit while listening to part of a wonderful series Chip Ingram is doing on knowing if you are in love prior to marriage. Michael popped out to the deck to check on his turkey brining in a cooler out there, then back to join the kids.
In our family, we all participate in the Thanksgiving dinner preparations. Once the parade is over, people will be drifting in and out of the kitchen all day, contributing to the feast. This year my husband (who staunchly has guarded our traditions over the years) surprised us by suggesting we come up with new recipes across the board. Once Q challenged the sacred cow, Jiffy corn bread stuffing, and our leader didn't cave on this new direction - we knew this was for real. So we scoured the internet and our cookbooks, and presented our recipe proposals for approval at a family meeting this past Sunday. Everything is the same, but different.
The line-up is as follows:
M - the Turkey - using a new brine recipe containing honey, salt, vegetable broth grilled over smoky hickory chips outside
Q - will be doing two stuffings, of course. One utilizing sourdough bread and sausage, the second one will be based on homemade cornbread and containing chestnuts.
D - mashed potatoes will be replaced by potato crashers
A - assigned the pumpkin pie replacement, she came through with pumpkin creme brulee! I can't wait! She also is giving corn pudding a go. A southern staple which has never graced our table to date will be having it's debute today.
R - ok, we had to go get him from college a day ago, and he is sleeping until noon today. Anticipating this, we gave him the assignment of the green dish - so he will be tutored in making a simple salad.
L and Mom - we will be bringing oatmeal sweet potatoes to the table, the aforementioned cheesecake, and a ginger-pineapple punch.
The day is interspersed with small delightful bites of life. Sweet - my sister Tania and I play a game of chat tag, never quite connecting in actual time, but speaking to and listening to one another anyway. Nourishing - I whip up a pineapple blueberry smoothie to sustain me and share a few cups with others. Savory - Little L rubs the sweet potatoes with oil and wraps them, placing her packages to bake for our recipe to be finished later in the afternoon. Peppery - some nudges to the less cooking-inclined members of my brood to pitch in as befits the day and occasion. Saucy - my sister-in-law responds to my family wide invitation for all to come to our house this year. They won't be able to make it, understandably. Goat farming isn't the sort of deal you can just call in a neighbor for. I am disappointed, but simply loved hearing from her. Cleansing - around 2:00 I take a shower, dress, and then settle for a bit of respite on my bedroom loveseat, reading The Book Thief and tearing up with tenderness. Rich - as R urges a spontaneous gathering of hands, so happy to be home.
Later on, we gather around the table. It is full with food, fuller still with my family. R finds our dinner music - always a big thing for the guys, D reads from the bible, Papa prays, and then we eat to satisfaction and contentment. (Some of us to a bit beyond that.) We all share at least one thing for which we are thankful. Although this is a tradition, I always think that some my kids would usually rather we not do this. I have to keep my list to just a few things. I am so, so thankful. M and I leave our children giggling and messing around at the table in the afterglow of the meal. I wash some dishes, he carves the turkey and says to me, "I think we just see things differently than they do."
I agree, and I'm glad of it. We talk about what that says about us, and it is deep and meaningful, and we savor the knowledge that we can understand these things together. We are grateful to be here and now. It is not perfect, but it is a gift of deep importance and consequence, and as such we treasure it all dearly.
Gratefully indebted to His unmerited favor, this is a day of thanks-giving.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Today's chapter was equally inspirational. This chapter literally breathed. I felt connected and drawn along by the words as I walked through it with my daughters, glancing up to make eye contact, like holding hands as we ventured into a forest of thoughts. They scribbled notes as I spoke, and I reveled in the joy of seeing this. Each chapter focuses on a quality of God, and those who know all three of the fairer sex within our home might find it humorous that this particular one was titled: unbelievably stubborn.
It's ok to smile.
The author, Margaret, speaks of a book she has read and then passed along to her husband titled The Burning Word. In it, she learns of a rich Jewish tradition called midrash which invites deep exploration - including study, reflection, and debate - of the Scriptures. From the book:
"Midrash reads the Hebrew Bible not for what is familiar but for what is unfamiliar, not for what's clear but for what's unclear, and then wrestles with the text, passionately, playfully, and reverently. Midrash views the Bible as one side of a conversation, started by God, containing an implicit invitation, even command, to keep the conversation - argument, story, poem - going.In Hebrew, Midrash means to search out. Midrash asks the reader to find those quirky, oddball Scriptures and inconsistencies and try to make sense of them before God. It challenges us to explore that which we do not know in order to better understand the One we want to know.
Midrash invites us to have a little chutzpah with the Bible.... I am invited into the depth of Scripture - to trade in a surface understanding for a deeper grasp of a passage's meaning. Sometimes when I finish midrash, I discover that I know less than I thought I did, but even in that, I actually know more than I did when I started."
Yes, yes, yes! I feel like I have found the word I didn't know was out there for this particular aspect of a living, vital thing called relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit God. He wants us to interact with Him. The fact is, when we are really honest we have to admit that we come with lots of questions, with loads of hang-ups and baggage, and we're not quite sure that He would really want to get into certain things with us. And when we are really totally honest, we admit all of that and wonder if He is really up to all we could bring to Him.
I know that there have been times when I have wondered if He can really handle me and all my stuff. But what I've found when I have finally gotten myself to that place where my desire for Him outpaces the fears and doubts of my own heart - is that He can. In point of fact, He really is able. When I have stepped out, sometimes in faith, at other times more in hope, He has caught me, been enough, seen me through, given me answers, and provided richly. The last line in the old hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness comes to mind, "Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside." He is more than able.
And He invites all my midrash. All I can say is, thanks be to God.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
It seems that eventually every family has to contend with the issue of what to buy extended family for Christmas, or more specifically WHO to buy for. Some are able to maintain the giving with the growing of the family, others choose to limit it to one another's children, and then there are those who decide that their own brood is as far as the giving can go. Many varieties of happy mediums exist out there as well, although they can be a long time coming. Too often I hear people complaining around the season of the huge number of gifts they must get. Really? I mean, before we get to Christmas again, let me ask you - really?
I skip most of the blog give-aways that I come across, but I decided to enter the recent one hosted by Keeper of the Home. The offering was the book Herbal Nurturing from Frugal Granola. I just love both of those blog names. Well, this morning I found I was one of the three winners!
Monday, October 25, 2010
Last night I took a trip to the nearby Borders with my husband and one of my sons, enjoying what amounts to an upgraded library visit for me. Not to take anything away from our local libraries, who get much more of my patronage; and quite honestly, my money, as I pay fairly routine library fines. Worth every penny.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
It has always been important to me to not be the modern-day family. While I am glad to take my kids here and there as needed, the emphasis has always been on "needed." I recall the first year we began homeschooling, comforting my sons with the promise that fall soccer season would soon be over, and we would be able to concentrate just on school and outside play again.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I found a recent article in this month's Family Circle to be quite enlightening. Titled Too Cruel For School, there were a number of comments and statistics given that shed light beyond what I think the author even intended. Throughout the entire piece, the numbers were given to show the increase in any and all number of bullies and their attacks. 'In a 2009 study, researchers asked teachers whether they thought children's ability to get along with one another and resolve disputes had improved over the last decade, stayed about the same, declined slightly, or declined significantly. Their response was overwhelmingly negative: 75% of educators perceived a significant drop and 25% said they saw a slight decline.'
I found it interesting that these specialists, experts, teachers, and parents have all kinds of programs (many, very expensive) that they have found, have tried, or are willing to take a gamble on. 'But even the best of such programs are no silver bullet.' I would whole-heartedly agree with that. Even for parents such as myself who give our lives in an effort to not only educate our kids at home, but even more importantly in order to train them in the way they should go; we have no guarantees. I could not help but feel for the grasping heartache of parents who see their children in such a negative spiral and still leave them in the hands of others.
Lest anyone think that we are immune to bullying tactics and maneuvers within the homeschooling environment, let me assure you that even here the story is as old as Cain and Abel. I just recently had to have a couple of conversations with my own children and their friends. Tough girl attitudes, intimidation plays, demeaning and minimizing of a person's value, even threatening fists had come in to play. This is, unfortunately, our all-too-human nature. God desires to remake us. Our children have to be shown that a better way, His way, is a very real option.
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
*Psalm 119: 9-16
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Seriously, take a peek (parents) at what cheerleading has become. Are these the aspirations you want to encourage in your daughter? And even for those cheers and the girls who shout them out with smiles and real earnestness, I still have to say, "Come on. Your jumping around and high kicks create more of a distraction for men and boys to overcome than they inspire them to root for the team."
Friday, October 1, 2010
This was my first purchase with Faerie Organics and I have to share. I bought Medium Beige and Medium Golden Foundation, and True Blush and "Sun Kiss" Bronzer/Blush. I am a fan of mineral foundations and of natural products that come without planet-harming chemicals. Today I went with the Beige foundation and True Blush and was absolutely pleased with the soft finish. I had my choice of Airbrushed or Maximum Coverage; I chose the former. They are right, a little goes a long way. I used a very small amount with a light touch and the coverage is perfect. I can't wait to experiment with other products they carry.
The foundations offered come in a wide range of colors and you are certain to find a few options that will suit absolutely any skin color. There is also a White Mix Color "Adjuster" that you could use to tweak your choice, if necessary. And take a look at their bountiful lineup of blushes! This was harder to settle upon than which would be the best foundation match. Their colors are gorgeous.
Speaking of Color - they have two categories of eyeshadows. While I am more of a "au natural" girl and can't see going for the high pigment option, personally, there were a vast number of choices to tempt me among their regular eyeshadows and shimmers.
Additionally, Faeire Organics offers a very unusual service - foundation combo samples for a penny plus shipping! They come with 2 foundations (in any finish), sun goddess faux tan and sheer veil. What's not to love?
On a heart of servanthood note: I was surprised to find that they'd sent me two of each of my foundations. In the note they sent, they explained that they were out of the size I ordered, so they'd sent me two of the smaller containers - a full 10 gm more. Also, when I wrote and informed them that they'd accidentally sent me the wrong item color bronzer, they responded right away telling me to keep it and they would send me the one I'd ordered in the first place.
I look forward to trying more of their good-for-me-and-you products in the future! Five butterfly kisses to Faerie Organics!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
A little more tweaking this evening perhaps, and I think my Three Minute Story is set to be sent off to NPR. Not sure if I should or not, I had my son, D, look over it. "Be gentle," I urged. What if his response led me to... oh, anything that created more work for myself. Tomorrow is the deadline, after all. He's leaving his until then. Show-off.
Friday, September 24, 2010
As I sat in the chair at Great Clips today with a hairdresser who alternated between silence and shouting nasally in my ear at her co-worker, the full reality of 'leaving myself for last' nestled comfortably into my lap and looked up at me.
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I have a half an hour to write before I shoot out the door for the evening.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Three hours there, three hours back. I drove to Raleigh yesterday to visit R, take him to lunch and soak in the dearness of him and how the Lord is working in and shaping him. Truly priceless, and I treasured every second.