Thursday, October 31, 2013

That speck hurts

Nate's eye was red and watery the other night, and before we went to bed he asked me a couple of times to look and see if anything was in it.

Other than the spidery red capillaries creeping across the inflamed eye, there was nothing to be seen.

The next day, his eye still hurt so I suggested he made an appointment at the eye doctor.

While there, the doctor also didn't see anything, so he dyed the eye. Every time Nate blinked, a line showed up across the dye, which made the doctor question what was causing it. He rolled Nate's upper eyelid back and found a small splinter was embedded in the eyelid, so every time he blinked it was scratching his cornea.

The doctor pulled the speck out, and Nate was 100 percent better. He came home and gave a sigh of relief that the pain and irritation was gone.

It was just a little speck, which came from Nate not following the rules and wearing protective eye gear on his eyes while doing a woodworking project. That little speck didn't cause him a lot of pain, but it didn't feel good and it caused his eye to swell and water to the point where it was hard to see.

Little things matter. When we have a little sin in our life, it causes some pain and irritation. It might even cause situations to swell, and we can't see clearly because of it. If we go see the great doctor, God, and get it taken out of our lives, we can get back to a peaceful life.

If we let it go though, it will continue to scratch and make matters worse. If Nate had let the splinter go, it would have continued to scratch his eye and could have gotten infected, causing possibly permanent damage. Like sin, if left untouched, the problem will grow and grow.

Plus, the speck in Nate's eye was easy to take care of when it was little. Had the problem grown, it would have taken much more drastic measures than tweezers and some eye drops to cure. When sin is little, the damages and the cure are much simpler. Don't let it fester.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Little things

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the little things matter.

Tonight, I was at a high school football game taking photos of our paper. My butt buzzed, and I pulled out my phone to read a text from my husband.

"You look cute."

I was just in jeans and a jacket with my hair pulled back, but as he stood on the sidelines — by the way he was looking handsome too — he still thought I looked cute.

I have to say it made my night, just that little statement. Because I knew that the way I feel when I see him far off, that little pitter patter that still wells up within me and the smile that comes on my face when I see my handsome man, I guess he feels like that too.

Then, earlier today, I helped him for like two minutes on a project he was working on in the basement, and he told me he appreciated my help.

It's simple, but those little words make my heart well up.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken and dumplings and apple crisp

I'm horrible about remembering to take photos of stuff as it happens, but last night I made a delicious dinner, so I thought I would share some recipes.

You'll have to use your imagination about what it looks like :)

Chicken and dumplings
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup milk
2 quarts chicken broth
3 cups cooked chicken
Buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, because all the work is done for you, and it's cheaper than cooking your own whole chicken. Get all the meat off of it, and freeze half. The other half will be used for the soup.

To make the dumplings, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into dry ingredients. Stir in milk until dough forms a ball. Roll out on a floured surface and use a pizza cutter to cut into squares.

Drop dumplings in boiling broth. Cook for 15-20 minutes.

Add in shredded chicken and cook until warm.

Apple crisp
4-5 cups sliced apples (I used ones I had cut and frozen this summer)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup melted butter
Layer sliced apples in a buttered 9-by-9 baking dish. Mix other ingredients and spread over top.

Bake about 20-30 minutes in 350 degree oven, until apples are soft and bubbling.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Heart matters

I've been thinking on sincerity a lot lately.

I think it boils down to whether I do things just because it's the right thing to do or because it comes from my heart. I know how to put on a good face and make a good impression, but does that really mean anything if it just makes me feel better or makes people like me?

When I talk to people at church, am I approaching them because I genuinely care or am I just doing my duty? As much as I think that it doesn't matter, as long as they feel good after the conversation, I think that they know whether I am patronizing them or am truly sincere. I know that I can tell when people genuinely care or are just taking the prescribed social steps.

When I volunteer, is it because I really want to help or just because I want to look good? I actually didn't do something recently that I was going to volunteer for, because I thought that I was just doing it to look good instead of it being from the heart.

It's similar to what I talked about yesterday with the checklist Christianity. Check — I did my good deed for the day or the week. Check — I asked about how someone was doing. That means God should be pleased with me, right?

When non-Christians do something good and expect to get into heaven because they are "basically good," we tell them their good deeds aren't worth anything. They can't clean us from sin. When we are Christians, our good deeds don't count for anything either, if we do them just to try to earn brownie points. They are only worthy of praise when we don't do them for praise.

The Bible says to lend money without expecting it to be returned. We should also give of ourselves without expecting anything back — no thank you, no return good gesture, no pat on the back from God. We do it because our hearts want to help.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


My best friend loves Post-It notes.

In college, she had them in multiple colors, and they were stuck everywhere. She had a Post-It for her homework, one for long-term projects, one for her daily to-do list. She loves them so much that people buy them for her as gifts and think of her when they see Post-Its while out and about.

I am not necessarily a fan of Post-Its, but I am a huge fan of lists.

My daily planner is completely full of lists. I have a list of what to do at work that day, and then I have a list of what I need to do that night. I sometimes write up a week's to-do list on the wipe board in our kitchen. I have an ongoing meals list on the refrigerator, as well as a foods-we-need list for the next grocery trip. I have a list of items that I think will be great in our garden next spring.

One of my favorite parts of having the to-do lists is I get to cross items out. My planner has a place to put a check mark for the items you have completed, but I don't use that. I love to cross tasks out so that they really look like they are done.

One of our pastors talked about check-list Christianity this Sunday. One place where I really have check-list Christianity is in my Bible reading. I put it on my nightly task list, and then I cross it off when I have read a little.

And that's on the good nights. On the good nights, I read what I am supposed to from the reading list. On the OK nights I rush to read something just so I can cross it off the list. On the bad nights, I forget the Bible reading because I'm too busy finishing up the other daily tasks.

Our other pastor is our mentor in our new Sunday School class, and he talked about the importance of us giving God our best. We shouldn't wait until the last minute of the day to cross off a task but we should really want to read our Bible and converse with God.

I have always struggled with this, and I'm not sure how to get better at it. I still haven't figured out what time of day is "best," and if I did I still need prayer to want to give that time of day to God.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Faith like a child

This might seem like a coincidence to some, but I believe there truly is power in prayer.

This week, I went to a bone and joint doctor to get my ganglion cyst looked at.

After taking x-rays to make sure it was actually a cyst and not a bone growth, the doctor said that he would numb the area and then stick the cyst with a "bigger" needle to pop it.

"Don't think about it," I said to myself, because I really hate needles. I texted Nate and told him I wished he was there with me, but he was out of town for work. I checked my e-mail on my phone and just tried to not concentrate on what was coming up next.

The nurse came in to rub the area with some kind of cleanser, and she put two needles on the bench beside my chair.

When the doctor came in and sat on a stool in front of me, I turned my head to the right as he took hold of my hand with one of his hands and a needle with the other hand.

He said he was just going to fill the cyst with lidocaine to numb it before using the other needle. I felt the little needle go in once, twice, three times.

Then the doctor started rubbing the area with the cyst.

"It popped with the smaller needle; you just saved yourself from having to use the bigger needle."

Hallelujah, thank you Lord!

I called my mom after the procedure to let her know my ganglion cyst was drained, and my wrist was back to normal. She was surprised, because she thought the appointment was an hour later than it was, but then she said that she and my 1.5-year-old niece had already prayed for me.

When my mom laid my niece down for her morning nap, Mom asked her who she wanted to pray for.

"Kiley," she said, although it comes out more "Kiwee" than anything.

They prayed for the appointment, and then it just happened to go better than I could have expected.

Just happened to, huh? I don't think so. Jesus said "Gather the little children unto me," because they have such great faith. Even a 1.5-year-old can have faith her heavenly daddy. And it worked out well for her aunt.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cleaning with a dirty hand

People often think, "If I just have enough will power, I can change."

In some circumstances, this is true. We can change how we eat, how we react to difficult situations, our tempers. However, we can't change our insides.

On Sunday, my pastor likened people trying to become better to trying to clean the dirt off your clothes with a muddy hand. It doesn't work.

When our sinful selves attempt to clean our insides, we can't do it. You have to start out with perfection to be able to clean something dirty. Jesus' perfection is the only way to get rid of our sin.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Two years, few changes

We've changed homes twice, and she's gone from 12 pounds to 60, but this little girl has not changed much.

Happy second birthday Noveske. I'm glad you're a cuddler!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The thankfulness perspective

I'm sure I've said this before — life is all how you look  at it.

I am a member of a Facebook group for women whose husbands are in the same career as mine. Many of them are very supportive, while others post their complaints about the career, which can have odd hours.

Tonight, my husband and I had a little time together before I had to go back to work, but he was called into work. I thought, "Typical, he has to go in when we actually have time together." Then I thought, "Well, at least he gets the overtime."

When you start to think about it, pretty much everything that happens to us can be looked at in a good light or a bad light.

We just took our dog to the vet, and it cost more than $100 because she has a yeast infection in her ears. Bad: It cost that much money. Good: We found a solution for the problem, and she can get better.

I have to work tonight, like most Friday nights. Bad: I have to work on a Friday night. Good: I have a job.

I have the consultation about my ganglion cyst on Tuesday. Bad: I have to spend money on another doctor's appointment. Good: I have insurance that will cover most of it, and hopefully the problem can get taken care of.

When I start to look at the bad side of situations, I try to take a step back and think about all I have to be thankful for about that instead. It's not always easy, because sometimes my emotions want to take over and tell me that being negative is more convenient. However, God gave me this life and everything in it can be used for my good. I can learn from situations and appreciate what is happening, because he is in charge and obviously saw fit for these things to happen.

Yes, I am going through a pretty easy time in life right now. But maybe that's just in preparation for a hard period down the road. If I learn these lessons now hopefully I can put them into practice in challenges in the future.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jesus' role model in the "Sons of Anarchy"?

I've been watching "Sons of Anarchy," the fifth season, and I started wondering what the draw was to a life like that.

I know it's just a TV show, but I've also read some books about motorcycle gangs like the Sons. Some of the men involved really are terrible people and have a need for violence and death. However, some of them seem like they have good hearts and are just caught up in something that is worse than they want it to be.

Whenever someone on "Sons of Anarchy" wants to leave the life, he decides not to because of his bond with the other members. They're like a family, and they don't want to leave family.

There was a funeral in one episode, and it showed some of the people who weren't members but would do anything for the club because it was like a family. There was a man with a mental disorder that made everyone else shun him. There was a porn star. There was an old ex-cop who didn't have anyone to turn to. The club took them in, and they can't leave the terrible life because they have no one else.

Don't you wish the church was like that - a place where people could go when they have no one else and feel so at home they don't want to leave? How many more people would be drawn to Jesus if we just showed the same acceptance that a motorcycle gang does?

That's exactly the example that Jesus set. He held an extremely high standard for himself - perfection - but he didn't avoid people who didn't live up to that. He just accepted them. And because of that, they loved him.

Mary Magdalene had seven demons cast out of her, and we know that she had a bad life. She just wanted to find acceptance, and Jesus showed that to her. Because of that, she would have done everything for him, even throw a year's wages onto his feet in the form of expensive perfume.

You wouldn't think you could see Jesus in a motorcycle gang. But there's lessons everywhere you look.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Insanity, the second round

Life has just seemed a little on the crazy side lately, in a good way. We've been going and going, so the blogging has slipped to the side.

In the near future, it seems like our lives aren't going to contain anything out of the norm, so I'll try to resume talking to you all on a regular basis.

Tonight, the goal is to start Insanity again. We did the Insanity workout before we got married, prepping for our trip to St. Lucia. Now it's getting close to the time we will be heading to the Caribbean, so it's time for this girl to tighten her muscles back up and get bikini ready. Seem a little backward since summer is over? Maybe, but that's how it's working out.

Oh to the ve. This kicked my butt last time. Let's see what happens this time around! I'll keep you posted, and maybe that will keep me accountable!