Monday, April 30, 2012

A Letter to My Four Legged Friends

I give up.  Certain members of the fur bearing sect of this family refuse to leave my iris alone.  In a moment of desperation, I got out my trusty shovel and did this on Friday:

Go ahead.  Be impressed.  It looks quite sparse, but I dug it out and used only plants that needed rescued from the jaws of death, or that were already in the small one foot wide existing bed, which you can see I expanded to fit new plants.   And the bird bath is one that was left here broken when we moved in.  Brent repaired it with his mad concrete skills then painted it with some left over spray paint from one of his many projects.  So Beloved Furry Ones, while I do enjoy digging out  new beds, and I do love seeing the freshly turned earth, I would really appreciate you leaving all digging to me.

Oh, stop looking so sweet and obedient.  I know what you are up to.  As soon as my back is turned you will be doing such shenanigans as this:

I try to look at the bright side and delude myself into believing that you were digging for a gopher.  Or a rat.  Or China.  But truly, truly I feel no threat from any random Chinese coming up through our earth, so you can just leave them there, alright?  And I am having a hard time believing that Mexican dingos are truly bred to hunt down the Chinese.  Rats, birds, snakes, even lizards?  I can totally see that.

While I totally appreciate that this little critter didn't make it into my house, I would be totally okay if you did NOT leave them in my vegetable garden.  Although it is hardly recognizable as a vegetable garden as some furry critter with busy jaws  did THIS last week...

Forgive the sideways photo, Dear Furry Friends.  But just in case you need a cue:  It is a jalapeno pepper plant chewed down to a single stem...Now this COULD be due to army worms.  They are overwhelming this season.  But the ginormous paw prints tend to point a finger at a certain chestnut colored puppy.

Oh, you are sweet and obedient, and heaven knows you are endlessly retrieving, retrieving, retrieving.  I'm just not entirely convinced that retrieving all of these from the fire pit are necessary.

My charge nurse said Friday that my yard must look really beautiful since I'm always working in it.  I know all five of you, my Beloved Furry Albatrosses were home doing your part to ensure the fallacy of such a rash statement.  Because after all, if Chesney is not chewing every piece of wood into one inch squares, or Kelsey is not creating lunar landscapes then the blasted felines in the household are committing  murder and mayhem....And I have to say every blasted time I find these, I say "damn cats."

Oh, yes I do.  Profanity.  That's what you have brought me too with your blue bird murdering ways.  Why blue birds?  I never even SEE blue birds!  Yet, you find them and see fit to kill them!  Perhaps you could be coaxed to move on to cow birds?  Or grackles?  Sparrows?  Please?  I promise to not voice one word of profanity complaint if you will just stick with the less visually appealing birds.

Oh!  And just in case you haven't noticed we will soon have some new four legged friends here. Kelsey I realize you will be utterly unable to resist tormenting them, even though they will make you foam at the mouth.  Please realize I'm referring to the rabid dog manner of foaming, not the Pavlov's dog sort of way...Just so we're clear.  The foaming is NOT a good thing, Kelsey.  So could you please just refrain from tormenting these little amphibians?  Thanks for your consideration in this manner.

Oh!  And I just realized as I took this photo today, that in this stage these little guys actually resemble little mice!  So perhaps it's a very good thing they are in the front yard and not in the back yard!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Three Hour Pie

One of my coworkers is due to have a baby in a few weeks.  We are having a little celebration for her Tuesday.  She asked that we serve pie instead of cake.

One can't help but wonder if a person requesting pie in place of cake has ever actually MADE a pie.

Well, one wonders that if one is catty, which I'm sure you most certainly are NOT Gentle Reader. And the girl requesting pie totally DESERVES pie.  After all, I still haven't completely recovered from my mother in law refusing to get fried chicken for me after Bookworm was born as she claimed "nobody wants to mess with fried chicken.  I will just go buy some."  And then she bought rotisserie chicken as she decided nobody truly WANTED fried chicken.  Never mind that the new mom wanted fried chicken. 

Excuse me, did I go on a rant?  My point was that while I didn't want the hassle of a pie, the pregnant lady DESERVES pie if that's what she wants.  Simply by virtue of being pregnant and nearing the very end of her pregnancy and still working.  So.  Pie she hall have...

I could have bought a Pillsbury pie crust.  I usually have a box on hand anyway, as we use them for chicken pot pie on weeks that I'm on call and Brent wants to use up the leftover grilled chicken...However, far be it from ME to buy a pie crust.  I'm entirely too domestic (read here stubborn and stupid) to BUY a crust.  Besides, an entire container of shortening is about the same as one box with two crusts.  And the cheapness buried deep in my soul rejoices at the thought of making twelve pies for the price of two bought crusts...

So, today (which is Sunday) I decided I had better make the apple pie I agreed to bring, as I'm on call tomorrow and my luck if I tried to make the darn thing tomorrow night, I'd end up working half the night.

Good thing I decided to attempt it today.

It was a disaster.

Of epic proportions.

I realize as I list the difficulties I've had, many of you will feel compelled to offer helpful advice as to why my crust did not work.  Please refrain (read here: shut up) because I've made many, many pie crusts.  And never in all of my born days have I had as many problems as I had today.  Seriously.  It was as if I'd never seen a pastry blender or made a pie in my life.

To begin with, I couldn't find my normal recipe.  I have no idea as to how this was possible as I had it very neatly shoved tucked in with all of my dessert recipes on a hastily scribbled neatly typed piece of paper.

So, I resorted to good old Betty Crocker.  And I noticed she had instructions for using a food processor!  Well, my MOM uses her food processor and if she can do it, surely I can too!

Wrong.  It was so sticky.  It was as if I was working with sugar cookie dough.  So I added a tad of flour.  And then it fell apart.  So I added water.  And then it was tearing.

And so then after no less than 30 minutes I tried making an entirely new batch with my trusty pastry blender, which I probably should have done in the first place.

It rolled out nicely, but when I picked it up, it fell completely apart.  Like in a million pieces apart...

So, I rolled it back out.  Then I cut it into strips.  Then I sprinkled it with sugar and cinnamon and baked it...

And I only nearly cried about twelve times.   Because the song "Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy boy, Billy boy?  Can she bake a cherry pie darling Billy?"  kept going round and round in my head.  So, clearly I'm somehow incapable of baking a cherry pie in a blinking of an eye, and I'm  NOT a young thing who cannot leave her mother.

Speaking of mothers:  I attempted to call her for reinforcement at one point, but she was unable to get to her phone.  So I called my sister.  Who pointed out I'd probably over worked my dough in my efforts to salvage it...

So I gave up and threw half of it away, and in the  midst of cleaning up the war zone that was once a tidy kitchen my mother called back.

And I did not answer...Because I knew I'd end up just annoyed with her for no reason, so instead I sat down with a cup of coffee and my butter basted cinnamon/sugar sprinkled crust and sat down to pour my woes out to you.

And, yes I do feel better.  So, now I shall go wash my sink full of dirty dishes and clean the kitchen floor which mysteriously has bits of pie crust all over it...

Oh, wait!  I forgot to mention that I used every last drop of flour in my house in my futile efforts to make a pie.  Tonight after church I will be running to the store.  And I will buy a pie crust.   And I will slice up some granny smith apples and throw it in the oven.  And I will have to shamefully say on Tuesday, "No, I didn't make the pie crust.  Please do not ask."

But then because I'm me, I will inflict the entire sordid tale on anyone who mistakenly asks...

Or even those who fail to ask, but mistakenly even randomly mention pies, apples, flour, kitchens or complete and total emotional break downs.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I saw this link on my Yahoo! home page, and naturally my curiosity was piqued.  It is a series of photos that celebrities have either requested not be retouched, or have allowed them to show the original. 

Here's the link.

Here's the deal:  All of these ladies look pretty darn fabulous.  And they look real.  No wonder we can never measure up, if women who look this good still need their waist line trimmed and their arms slenderized.  As I looked through the pictures another thought occured to me.  How hard that must be to see your picture on a magazine, and realize that is NOT my arm.  Being a typical female, I'm pretty sure my next thought would be, "Are they saying my real arms are fat?"

So, I really don't have much to say.  But I saw this link, read it, and just had to share it with those of you who don't peruse the Yahoo! smut. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have been in rebellion.  Willful disobedience.  Denial.

Really what I've been entrenched in is sin.


What a harsh word.  I find it easier to tell myself I'm being disobedient, or back slid, or even rebellious.  The world loves rebellion after all.  Just look at the new Dr. Pepper commercial where one girl proudly wears her white shirt with red letters proclaiming "I am a rebel."

But to just come right out and say "I've been in sin.  And my flesh has been loving it."

That makes me physically nauseous.  Oh, the sin may not be what the general populous would call "bad."  In fact, it would be construed as quite good.  I've been working in my yard.  I've been playing with my girls.  Preparing meals.  Clipping coupons.  Reading books that I've had on the waiting list on the  library.

Life is busy with softball and work, and it's spring so the yard is calling my name.  I'm finding myself getting wrapped up in the "doing" so that I can be the "have it all together" kind of girl that I envision myself to be.

Anyone who knows me is shaking their head at my self delusion.  I struggle with flakiness.  One of my dear mentors at church told me that if I'm finding myself forgetting about things I need to do, it's because I'm over committed.  I scoffed at that mentally.  But deep down inside I know she's right.

So, instead of eliminating things, I simply endeavor to become more organized.  Because if I just plan my day better, and don't watch any TV, or stop daydreaming in the yard swing while I sip my coffee, I will get all of the things I NEED to get done finished and my family will rise up and call me blessed.  Because I'm pretty sure my family likes a pretty flower bed, and fresh home grown tomatoes, and they ESPECIALLY like to walk in the door from softball to the table set with a nutritious hot meal ready to be enjoyed.

All of those are good things, right?  They certainly aren't BAD.  

But here's the deal.  My pursuit of "having it all together" just isn't working out for me.  They have been drawing me into temporal thoughts, not eternal thoughts.  They have been bolstering my self worth with a sense of, "look what I accomplished today."  They have been feeding my flesh and my flesh has been quite pleased with itself.

But my soul has been in quiet misery.

The crisis came last Friday.  Good Friday as a matter of fact.  Our choir has a Tenebrae service.  It is a time of reflection on the cross and the sacrifice that Christ made before we have a big celebration of His resurrection on Sunday.  We serve the Lord's Supper during that service, but as the choir is singing during that time, our pastor and deacons serve the choir before the service.  The pastor pointed out to us that  "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord."

I immediately realized my heart was not prepared to partake of the supper.  I was convicted that I was not to take of the elements.  We paused and had a moment to search our hearts.  I had a chat with God and decided I was good to go.  After all, I had confessed my sins.  God is faithful and just to forgive us, right?

I took the cup.  I ate the bread.

And I have never felt more spiritually absent during a service in my life.  Seriously.  It was as if a wall was up between me and my God.  I was singing to Him.  I was truly trying to take in and contemplate the words being sung to Him.  I was trying to get that joyous feeling of connection that comes when I truly block out what the congregation is thinking or doing, what the lady next to me in the choir is singing and I just focus on God and who He is.  After all, my role in the choir is to help lead worship, and if I'm not up there truly worshiping, I'm just another warm body who is  hopefully singing on key.

So, I endeavored to focus on my Savior.

But I wasn't feeling it.

So that was painful.  And it was an eye opener.  I took some serious time to pray over the weekend and by Sunday I was in a true celebratory mood as I went to church.  This week (all the way to Wednesday let's not be too proud of me, Gentle Reader) I've spent time in His Word each day.  I've taken time to talk to Him.  I've written my thoughts on the scripture He gave me in my journal.

And I feel refreshed.  And I am forgiven.  And He is right here where I left Him.

I am currently involved in a study written by Kelly Minter titled "No Other Gods."  In my pursuit of an image, I have been neglecting my King and Redeemer,, the LORD Almighty, the first and the last, the Rock of my salvation (Isaiah 44:6-8.)

God showed me this morning that I've been carrying about images that are "burdensome, a burden for the weary.  They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity."  (Isaiah 46:1-2)

The illusion of getting my life organized and having a pretty yard and a well fed family is a weary burden that can never satisfy me.  It will continually drag me down because no matter how cute the house is, or how weed free my flower beds I will always tell myself, "I could be doing more."

The idol of perfection will always leave my soul weary.

Matthew 11:28-30

What burden is weighing you down?  Call up on the LORD Almighty.  He will give you rest.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm Raising Children, Not Carpet

I once heard a friend tell her husband, who was frustrated by a stain on the couch "We are raising children, not furniture."  I thought that was a beautiful word of wisdom.  In fact, I frequently recite that phrase to myself as I look at the stains on my dining room chairs, and the stains on my carpets.  Of course, I'm also raising a husband, three cats and two dogs, so there you go. 

Translation:  My carpets are a disaster.

Sunday the girls colored Easter eggs.  Before we began, my youngest was popcorning all over the house, doing handstands and cartwheels and flips.  "You better get some control of yourself if you want to color eggs."  I'm pleased to report that she settled right down and did not have one single mishap. 

Have you ever noticed that some colors always turn out beautifully- like yellow- but every single year the purple is a disappointment?  This year the pink was especially bad.  I think that next year I will just try making dyes with food colors.

Bookworm decided she wanted to do half of one egg green, then the other half pink.  She carefully held the egg in each color.  She did the pink last.  We all shook our heads at the disappointing flecked appearance of the pink half of the egg.  She slowly and methodically reached across the table to the rack I had set out to dry the eggs on.  As she delicately released the egg to the rack, she let loose with a giant grin of relief and sagged back into her chair...

Catching the cup of pink egg dye with her elbow in the process.

As it turns out, the pink dye stains the carpet in a lovely dark pink color. 

And for the record, I did NOT pay her to dump dye on the carpet that I loathe. 

But I might have if I'd thought of it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Can I Please Have Some Secret Jam and Toast?

Friday night as I sat in the back yard, staring at the three holes where a dog had decided to uproot two iris and a malva I sighed to myself that apparently I was going to have to go to the store to buy some unsightly fencing or I would have no flowers left.  Gentle Reader, if one wants to have a gloriously beautiful yard  with no holes or uprooted plants, I fear one should avoid acquiring animals of the four legged tail wagging variety.

Somehow the trip for fence supplies turned into a trip to buy goodies for a tea party.  The girls were each having a friend over, and I was desperately needing to mow and do various other projects, but once the tea party idea took root, there was no going back.

As we planned our menu, Bookworm suggested that we most definitely needed jam.  I sat there, stumped and silent for a moment.  "Jam?"

"You know, 'Could I please have some secret toast and jam?'"  she quoted in her best British accent. 

So, of course we had to have jam.  I bought some cheap white bread to make cute shaped sandwiches, and put grape jam and cream cheese on some of them.  It was rather quite good if I do say so myself.

We feasted on fruit salad, tiny crustless sandwiches, carrot sticks, cheese and crackers, mini blueberry muffins, and strawberry shortcake for dessert.  We had strawberry limeade, iced tea, and lemon water as our choice of beverages.

I picked up the girls around ten, and then worked quickly to get ready for the party.   As I was preparing my messy porch and weedy yard kept calling my name.  After all, there was never any question that I was going to blog the event.  And undoubtedly those pictures would depict the shortcomings of my yard... I began to lecture myself that if I wait for the perfect moment to have fun, those fun times will pass me by.  Because I'm fairly certain that my girls will not grow up and dwell on the out of control crab grass in our yard, or the mud tracked all over the porch, or even clumps of dirt tracked through the house.

I think instead they will remember an unseasonably warm March morning where we had a tea party with friends, and they all proved virtually incapable of being at all proper or elegant.

But I decided that if they can overlook my weedy yard, I could try and overlook their fingers in the fruit bowl as they fished out bits of mango, or their double fisted clutch of the tea cups...

 After the tea party, they changed out of their tea party gear and had a dance off in the living room, while I continued my hand maiden role and cleaned up the mess we made in our morning full of fun.

Once the mess was cleaned up, it was time to get myself cleaned up so we could head to the movie to see "Mirror, Mirror."  And just in case you are mistakenly reading reviews and considering skipping it, I have to say we all five unanimously LOVED it.  Absolutely laugh out loud LOVED it.

So, all in all, we had a perfectly glorious "girls day."

What special memories are you making with your children this spring?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Way Down Yonder in the Indian Nation

As I've mentioned about forty dozen times in previous posts, my girls went to my folks for Spring Break.  And my dad brought them with him to the lake when it was time to meet up for them to come home.  Brent and I brought hot dogs and chips and we all had a nice time just sitting at the lake chatting and enjoying that sense of calm that seems to descend when one is at a place where there really isn't a schedule.  

Unless one is fishing.  Which I'm usually not.

I prefer to sit on the shore and day dream or read, or go garage sale-ing if it's Fall Break. 

For fishermen it's OGF (Operation Get Fish.)  And yes, I just made up OGF, but it seems rather catchy don't ya think?  I think all four of my readers should start flinging this acronym around whenever the opportunity arises.  I'm pretty sure that it's going to go viral.  And then you can say, "I remember when an obscure blogger brazenly threw out that phrase.  It was a rare moment of genius and I was privileged to be a part of it."

Feel free to adjust the script to suit your needs.

Anyway, David and his son went out to put out jug lines, and Dad stayed on shore to chat with us while the girls (after exuberantly greeting us, then moving on to bigger and better things) ran around like wild Indians...

Which was imminently appropriate as we were in the Caddo Indian Nation at the time.

I was quite happy to realize I was wearing the appropriate foot wear when I looked down and saw I was standing on actual hieroglyphs as I shot pictures of an Oklahoma sunset.

Even if my Minnetonkas were actually made in China...

The sentiment was there and I was pretty sure I could hear the distant beat of a tom tom in the background.

Either that, or a boat wasn't running as smoothly as one would hope...

P.S.  Is anyone singing "Way Down Yonder in the Indian Nation" right now?  Well, I promise if you click  this link you will be happily humming for the rest of the live long day.
Your welcome.