Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kids put off work, why can't we?

Life has been a little crazy in the last week, so my blogging hasn't been consistent. A wedding last weekend, family coming into town, plenty of work - it's kept me from having too much free time.

However, this weekend I have a weekend off with nothing scheduled, and Nate doesn't have to work. What am I supposed to do with this joyous free time? Well, I already have a list started - bake for the church dinner on Sunday, clean the house, do laundry. I will definitely make some time to play though.

I did an interview last night for a local production of "Peter Pan." I asked the actor playing Peter and the actress playing Wendy about their thoughts on growing up, and they both talked about the importance of children and how much freedom kids have to imagine and play. We often lose that as adults.

When Nate's and my niece visited this past weekend, I saw how much kids love to play. She chased Novie around, threw her toys around, decided even a potato was a toy. When we drug her around to different places, she got crabby when she didn't get a good nap or didn't have time to just play.

Kids really seem to enjoy life. They look at day to day activities with joy instead of dread. They spend most of their time having fun while putting off responsibilities. As kids, we get a talking to when we don't do our chores before having play time.

That means that as adults, we are programmed to do all our responsibilities first. Pay bills, mow the lawn, clean the kitchen, do the laundry and then play. That's OK, but sometimes it's important to put off our work and just have fun. Life loses its enjoyment when you are all work and no play.

My husband has taught me a lot about that. I never was a spontaneous one until I spent time with him. Now, we love our random trips to the nearest city for dinner or to see my best friend and her husband. We don't mind coming home to a messy kitchen if it meant that we had enjoyed ourselves.

My house might never be the cleanest, because I have tried to prioritize spending time with my man before getting everything on my list completed. Work will always be there, making memories is more important.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Where will your choices lead?

It seems like death has been everywhere lately. From my sister-in-law's mom to a local teacher to multiple interviewees' family members to co-workers' family members to my cousin.

A cousin of mine passed away recently after going to the hospital, complaining of pain, receiving a bottle of pills and taking them all.

She had struggled with drugs off and on for many years and even had her son taken away due to the troubles. She didn't keep in contact much with her family, and news of her death was only passed to her father and son through the grapevine.

Although your first instinct might be to think that she made bad choices, and that's where it led her, it's also heartbreaking to think that I'm no better. I make bad choices. I'm just blessed that I have family members and friends who keep me on the straight and narrow. I have people to tell me when I mess up. Most of all, I have the Holy Spirit inside me to convict me when I do something wrong.

Without the Holy Spirit in me, I know that my first priority would be my own happiness. If I wasn't feeling happy, I would try to get that feeling in the quickest, easiest way. For many people, the answer is drugs, alcohol, sex, food. Consequences be damned, you just want to do what feels good in the moment.

Thanks to a convicting spirit inside me, I notice - most of the time - when my selfish tendencies start creeping up. Then I try to think of the people around me instead of myself. I hope that someday it will become a habit and I will no longer have to think about putting others before myself. For now though, I'm a work in progress.

People have to remember that choices have consequences. The bad might not hit right away. It might seem OK to "have some fun" when you're not getting caught. However, if you're walking down the wrong path, you will probably end up in a forest deeper and darker than you expected.

God is right there, waiting for you to turn to him and let him lead you to a much better place where your own selfish desires don't get in the way.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wall decor

I've been excitedly awaiting the days that I could decorate a home of my own.

It's a little more expensive when you start doing it though, so I've been busy pinning away ideas of how to decorate on the cheap.

That's when I started to collect empty toilet and paper towel rolls. With the help of my mom in the collecing process, I finally had enough to start on a project for our spare bedroom.

Each roll was cut flattened and cut up into about half-inch wide strips. I used some hot glue to make a flower shape and then went around gluing strips between the strips in the row before.

One circle was quite large and the other two were only about five rows deep.

I took the circles outside and spray painted them from all directions with green paint found at Wal-Mart for about $4.

All-in-all, a wall is decorated, and it only cost a couple dollars and a couple hours work. Perfection.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

I sit down at the computer, and I'm not sure of what to write on this Father's Day.

I have written about my dad before. I have written about how wise, hard-working and loving he is. I have written about how much I appreciate him. I'm not sure what to write today that will convey to him just how important he is and just how much I appreciate him. My dad has been the best dad I could ever have imagined. He is a wonderful example of what a man of God should be.

I guess when I think about Father's Day and my dad, I think back on the dates that we have had through the years. When I was little, I remember going to Dairy Queen and having dinner with him before going to see some new Disney princess movie. I can't say that I remember specifics, but I remember knowing that my daddy loved me enough to want to spend time with me and that he wanted me to know I was special.

Even today, we go to a local rib place together, because we love barbecue, and we love it much more than my mom so we just go together. It's just a time to smile and enjoy a little taste of life.

Then there's the moments when we eat a quart of ice cream together or when he gave me a special silver ring with a key on it that said I had the key to his heart, and he gave it to me for no special occasion, just because he saw it and thought of me. It's the moment when he's about to walk you down the aisle and he can't even talk because he's so choked up.

I don't know if there are a ton of specific stories that I have that show how special my dad is to me. It's just a conglomeration of days and times that stick in my mind that made me know that my dad cared. And that's what a dad is, more than a father. A dad is the one who makes you know that you are loved and that you are special and that you deserve the best the world has to offer. I have always known that I have a special place in my dad's heart. What more could I ask for?

And this year, I have a new father to be thankful for. Nate's dad has always called me honey, and he's always made me feel like one of his own. Again, what more can you ask for than a father-in-law that just seems like another dad?

I thank God for these two men, and I wish them the happiest Father's Day. They deserve so much more than I can say.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fun at the zoo

"Kittykittykittykittykitty." "Turtle." "Duck!"

I was absolutely flabbergasted at what my 14-month-old niece could say when I went home to visit last weekend. Her words didn't stop there. She knows Mama, Daddy, Papa, Ruru (her dog, Ruger) and pretty. When she sees kids, of any age, she says "Hey baby!" She knows that a cow says "Moo" and a clock says "Tick tock." When you ask if something stinks, she wrinkles up her face in the most adorable way.

What did I say? Brilliant, right?

My parents, brother and sister-in-law and I took Ella to the zoo for the first time. We obviously don't expect her to remember it, but we'll remember the fun we had and will be able to tell her all about it when she's older.

When we first got there, she was enthralled by the ducks in a pond near the entrance, and she clapped her hands trying to get them to come closer as she yelled out to them.

We saw elephants, giraffes and monkeys. We saw some wild snakes slithering loose near the aviary, which sent my mom running. We roared at the lions and tapped on the eagle's cage to make it fly away.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what age you are. The zoo is just fun. You see pictures or TV shows about all the cool animals in the world, and getting to see them up close is unlike any other experience. I know it's not like seeing them in the wild, but it's so interesting to see leopards lying on tree branches and lions stretching their giant jaws or standing on their gigantic paws.

I still love the pigs, although the one in this petting zoo tried to bite me when I stuck my finger through the fence. (The sign said it would, but I ignored it.) My sister-in-law loved the elk as much as I loved the pig.

What a creative God we have that came up with all the different designs and personalities of the animals at the zoo as well as the innumerable species that are found around the world. And it's still fun to think that if he cares about those animals, how much more does he care about us?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A little sugar

Since we moved in to our new house, the alley going by our garage has been full of pot holes.
I've learned how to avoid them, but if I have to turn into the driveway differently or forget about the divots, the road less traveled can get quite bumpy.
We've been waiting and hoping for someone from the city to come fill in the pot holes with peat rock or to grate the road. We even thought about buying our own rock to fill in the trenches.
When I was working today, I heard a ruckus outside. It sounded like heavy machinery. Could it be?
Yes! Someone was out grating the road.
I fist-pumped in the area and stared out the window with a smile on my face. Then I thought I should go out and thank the person. I know it's his job, but it's always good to show appreciation right?
I went back and forth in my mind, because I don't like approaching strangers. However, I thought God was prompting me to do it, so I took the last sugar cookie bars out of the pan, put them in a Zip-loc bag and offered them to the man on the tractor.
"Thanks! We really appreciate you doing this!" I told him.
He smiled, kind of in awe, and said, "Thanks! That's awesome."
I told him to have a great (or grate? :) ) day and went back inside. Looking out the window, he was sitting on the tractor eating one of the cookies.
It made me feel good to offer something simple to hopefully make someone's day, and he did a great job grating the alley. Maybe the cookies were a little incentive!
Here's the recipe that I found on Pinterest for the cookies. They're from I Heart Naptime. I didn't add the orange extract to the frosting, but I did make the frosting orange anyway. They're delicious!
  • 2 1/2 cup baking flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 egg
  • Butter cream frosting:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter -softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 TB half and half
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract
  • Orange food coloring (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a medium. sized bowl. Set aside.
  2. With a mixer combine butter, sugar and powder sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Pour in vanilla,eggs and sour cream and mix until combined. Then pour dry ingredients in this bowl and mix until combined.
  3. Place mixture in a buttered 9x13 glass pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not over cook.
  4. For frosting, combine ingredients in large bowl and beat with a mixer for 2 minutes, or until fluffy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What are you doing, God?

When Jesus came to wash Peter's feet at the Last Supper, Peter was shocked and asked him what in the world he was doing.

"What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand," Jesus said to him.

That is the perfect commentary on the Christian life. Most of the time when Jesus does something in our lives, we don't understand. We are shocked and just want to know what Jesus is doing. However, most of the time he doesn't tell us. He just says that later we'll get it.

That's hard for people to grasp. We think that if we just knew what was happening right now then it would all be OK. However, that takes the trust of our relationship with God. We have to have faith that he knows what he's doing.

Also, some people think that they will eventually understand everything that happens to them. Say there's a death in the family - you think "Fine, I don't get it now, but later I'll understand why she had to die." When you still don't understand in a few years, you might get even more frustrated and think that God isn't doing his part and explaining himself.

We might not always understand why things happen when we're still on the Earth. We might only understand why we lived through what we lived through when we're no longer on this Earth, when we're in heaven.

So if you don't get what God is doing in your life right now, don't worry. Know that Peter was in the same spot.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thankfulness list

It's always important to be thankful. What are the top 10 things you're thankful for today?

1. Beautiful weather: OK, so the weather hasn't been beautiful, but it's also not below 30 degrees so I can't complain!
2. The wedding of friends: This weekend we got to see some of our best friends tie the knot!
3. Parents who care: When I was driving home the other night to an empty house, my dad had me call to check in when I was safely inside. It's nice that my parents care even from a distance.
4. Caffeine: I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the city council meeting tonight. The Diet Pepsi, Wild Cherry, helped.
5. My home: It's nice to come home to a house that's all yours.
6. A full work week: That sounds odd, but I have a lot to do, so I'm glad I have time to do it this week.
7. A beautiful dog: I love coming home to my puppy who is always happy to see me.
8. A husband to be proud of: That doesn't need much explaining.
9. Computers: I like being able to watch TV on demand.
10. Jesus! The perfect Sunday school answer and the best thing about life.