Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prayer and stoplights and parking spaces

This past week I had two different "opportunities" to talk about prayer with people.  I was the substitute bible study leader for our regular leader who was on a trip.  The topic: Prayer.  Later in the week I was helping Ryan teach a discipleship group at our church and this week happened to be on prayer as well.

I felt very unqualified to teach on prayer.

I talk to God a lot and I have heard from God a lot.  But I just don't have all the answers in regards to prayer.  I am not one of those "faith pray-ers" who claims the promises of God's word and banishes Satan from the room, and says Amen and Halleluiah a lot.  I love those people, but that is not me.  I also struggle with praying with the faith of a child.  I completely trust that God CAN do whatever he wants but it is hard for me to pray and trust that God WILL do what I am praying for.  I have friends who have complete trust in the goodness of God and pray knowing He will answer because He loves them.  I just can't do that.  I think I am a bit jaded.  

I do pray for the parking space sometimes...but I fully believe that God will answer me with a big fat NO because He cares more about my character than about my getting what I ask for.  And a parking space shouldn't be important to me when I live in this amazing country and I have food on my table each night.  But I have friends who see those little prayers as a way for God to bless and to gift you when you really don't deserve it.  I admit, when I pray what I consider to be a dumb and trivial or selfish prayer, and it actually is fulfilled in a "yes" from God, I feel pretty cared about.  And then humbled.  And often silly for asking but so happy that God heard.

 In fact, just this past weekend I was driving home and my car started breaking down.  Thinking of this blog post, I started to pray.  I asked God to "get me safely home."  And then I clarified..."home, meaning the house, not to heaven."  Then I prayed "and please get the car home, but not in a tow truck, rather on it's own wheels."  It was ridiculous and I was totally serious but also thinking God must seriously be rolling his eyes at me.  But then I got off the freeway, and for 10 stoplights in a row...the light was red, and just as my creaking and lurching car would come within a few feet of the light, it would turn green.  No kidding.  Every light from the freeway to my house.  Is that because I was clear with God?  I highly doubt it.  

A lady came up to me a while ago and told me a story of how she overheard me saying something to someone else at church, and she took it to heart.  She said it really impacted and challenged her.  Now, what she had recounted to me was a quick off-handed comment I made to someone and had not put any thought into whatsoever.  I laughed and said, "Gosh you shouldn't listen to everything I say!" And she replied "Yes I do...you are the pastor's wife."  Yikes!!  

Because of occasional conversations like that, I am very sensitive to the things that I don't have answers to.  Of course, I don't think I have entire answers for anything.  The bible says we will see "dimly" in this world but will one day see God "face to face."  I will strive to know God and His word each day, but my understanding of Him will be dim, at best.  I feel that my understanding of prayer is that way as well.  

People sometimes come to me and ask me how to pray.  There are so many examples of prayer in the Bible and they don't follow a perfect outline.  Yes the PRAY method is good: Praise God, Repent of your sins, Ask for what is on your heart, Yield to God's ultimate answer.  Yes the Lord's Prayer is a good model to follow.  And sometimes people yell at God, sometimes they sing to Him, praise Him, thank Him, sometimes they whine to God, sometimes they use simple words and the Bible even says that sometimes we can't come up with any words at all and the Holy Spirit in us will pray on our behalf.  Sometimes people hear from God in an audible voice, sometimes in the wind, sometimes a stirring in the heart, sometimes through a "prophet" and sometimes through the awesome-ness of Nature.  

I have to believe that prayer is as diverse as the people who pray and that God will listen, regardless of how pious, or how goofy, or how angry those prayers may be.  And in looking for, and listening for His response, I hope ultimately what we can come to believe is that God is saying "I am here."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Wall: and when to cease praying.

I had a vision.

Yes, one of those crazy-christian-lady (as I like to call myself on occasion) visions.

I was standing in front of a wall, holding a piece of paper.  I was turning the piece of paper over and over, staring at it, worrying over it, thinking about it.  God said, "stick the paper in the wall, and walk away."  So I did.

This happened to me last week when I was very upset about something.  Heartbroken, in fact.  And I was doing just what the Bible tells me to do..I was praying without ceasing.  Yep, when I woke up and I thought about this burden on my heart, I would pray.  And then all day that burden was on my heart and I would pray some more.  And then as I was getting ready for bed, that burden was on my heart some more and I would pray.  In fact, at church last week we forced (ahem, gave the opportunity to...) our discipleship class to pray for 30 minutes on their own, in silence, without writing one grocery list or checking their fb status on their phones (not that I have ever done this at church..).  I took my 30 minutes and prayed without ceasing for this same burden that was on my heart.

In that 30 minutes, we were also supposed to listen for God to speak to us.  We made it clear that this was not a forced exercise and no one fails if they don't happen to hear God speak.  That's silly.  But I was praying so fervently without ceasing, that I doubt I gave God the chance to get in a word edgewise.  But literally, God threw one of those 11th hour, hail-mary (is God allowed to do that?) type God-is-speaking-now passes my way the very last minute of our 30 minutes.

And it was in a vision.

I was in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.  Which I have been there before many times.  The wailing wall is part of the ancient temple that once stood in Jerusalem, which was destroyed almost entirely by the Romans in AD 70.  The temple housed the "Holy of Holies" or basically, this is where God lived, where He was present.  The wall today stands as a reminder to the Jewish people that one day the temple will be rebuilt, but it also is the closest thing they have to coming into God's presence.  It is a Holy place for them.

I was holding a piece of paper.  Pilgrims come from all over to the wailing wall and bring their prayers, written on paper.  They roll the paper up into little wads and stuff them into the cracks of the wall.  It's as close as one can get to sticking a prayer into the hand of God.

I was turning the paper over and over.  I was praying without ceasing.  But I wasn't actually putting my concerns into God's hands.  And that is what He wanted me to do.

God's voice in my vision wasn't a gentle one.  It was an admonishment.  It was a bit annoyed.  (of course, that might have just been my take on it).  "Sara, stick the paper in the wall, and walk away."

So, in the vision I saw myself do just that.  I put my prayer into the hands of God and therefore put it out of my hands.  Then I turned and walked away, trusting that He cares more than me and is far more capable than me.  

The real me (not the vision-me) let go of my burden right then.  And I walked away from it.  Every once in a while I can look over at the wall just to check..."you still got this, right God?"  And He does.

1 Peter 5:7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you."

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Momnesia is a real thing.  I thought I was clever when I came up with the title of this post, but then decided to google it.  There are definitions online, books, blogs and even a USA Today article on Momnesia.  The basic premise of course, is that a mother, shortly after childbirth, suffers from a sort of mental "fuzziness." I didn't read much on the term, since I already had in my head what I thought it meant and I prefer to live in my bubble and use the term for my own devices.  Also, I am a bit annoyed that I am not as clever as I thought I was.

I always think of mommy amnesia as the condition that wipes away the true memory of childbearing so that we have more kids later.  I won't go into the gory details, but giving birth to my first-born was not pretty. And between the three kids, there was 6 weeks of bedrest, 31 days in NICU, 10 years of cholic (I won't name names), an emergency C-section and 150 pounds of weight gain.  Yet somehow I managed to forget each difficult experience and go for another round.

Other signs of Momnesia might be things like putting your purse in the fridge, leaving your bible on top of the car (I literally went through one bible per baby), forgetting your child's name, leaving your keys in the bathroom at McDonalds, becoming clutzy and bumping into things (I might have been born with Momnesia now that I think of it).

Here is where I have been hit the hardest though - I have these ideas in my head of what an idyllic family outing will look like.  Or what Christmas morning will look like.  Or for instance, what a nice family bike ride on the beach for my birthday will look like.  We all love each other, we laugh, we smile.  We are wearing normal, clean clothes and we are polite to all those around us.  We are grateful for life and for whatever experience we may be having together.  So lovely.  There are the ideas in my head, and then there is what is true.  Usually after an outing together or a family holiday, I am making plans to sell my children to the zoo.  And yet, I forget all this, and the very next week, am doing it all over again.  Momnesia.  

This past Friday we went to the Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch.  I was so excited to stroll the fields, watch the boys laugh and play, smell the cold, crisp fall air of...Escondido.  I knew right away that there was going to be trouble when we picked up my oldest from school and immediately the punching began.  And then they got along for five minutes because I told them the name of the pumpkin patch...Nut Farm.  And I have three boys, so they loved the idea of going to a nut farm, and giggled about going to get nuts for a good five minutes.  And then the punching resumed.  And Ben wiped boogers on Isaac's face.  And Ian threw a red rubber ball at Ben's face.  And then we got stuck in traffic.

At the pumpkin patch, the weather was significantly warmer than it had been at our house which is closer to the coast.  The boys were too hot.  They were hungry.  Could they get a giant pumpkin?  They picked up rotten pumpkins.  They made faces for the camera.  They grumbled.  And punched.  They found a poor fake mannequin cowboy sitting on a bench and picked his nose, pulled his ears and tickled his feet to make sure he was really fake.  Getting them to all three sit still for more than 20 seconds to get a photo of our day was like pulling teeth.  I told them that I was leaving them at the nut farm and they would have to forage for food and raise themselves.  Ben the five year old actually thought that sounded like a great idea.  Sigh.

This morning, I went for a run without the children.  It was cold and grey.  I had a thought in my head as I neared the house... "maybe they will all have cleaned the house for me while I was away.  Maybe the house will be cozy, clean and smelling of pumpkin candles and fresh-brewed coffee."  Momnesia.

What throws me off however, is that today, as I entered the house, it was clean and the boys were upstairs playing quietly (they were drawing all over their faces...but they were quiet) and the house smelled of pumpkin and coffee.  Sometimes they actually surprise me and live up to my hopes for them.  And it makes my Momnesia feel justified.  Sometimes I want to sell them to the zoo, but I look back on those moments fondly.  Momnesia.  

peaceful pumpkin patch
Brother love

Saturday, October 20, 2012

To Be a Child

Yesterday I got a tetanus shot for the first time in over 10 years. She gave me my shot, and then I got one of those little round bandaids that my kids always get when they get immunizations.  The last few times I got shots of any kind, I passed out.  Therefore, the nurse had me lay back and wait 15 minutes before I could leave the office.

Today, my arm is a little sore, but I no longer need the bandaid on my arm.  It is a tiny little pin-prick.  However, I keep refusing to pull the bandaid off.  And just a bit ago, it hit me why not.  I associate those bandaids with being a kid.  Where someone else is in charge and you just go along with it.  You don't have to be responsible and you don't have to make any choices, you just sit there and get your shot.  And then, if you are lucky, your mom or dad will take you to the store and buy you a can of mandarin oranges in light syrup.  (ok, that was my treat of choice as a kid...).

I am 37 years old and have been married for 15 years.  I have three beautiful (albeit feisty) boys.  I am a grown up.  But some days, I really want to be a kid again.  To not be responsible for anything or anyone, to have no major expectations, to be oblivious to the laundry on the bathroom floor and the dishes in the sink.

It's funny how childhood is so often lost on kids.  They want to grow up, they know better than their parents.  They hate the boundaries and the "forced" family vacations. Us adults, we do know better.  Days like today I am grateful to be called a "child" of God.  It is days like this, that I am glad that the Bible tells me that God has a plan.  That He is in control.  That He loves me and considers me His kid.    And I don't always have to have it all figured out and I can mess up.  Days like today I say to God, "Okay - the day is yours...just pick me up and take me where you want me to go.  Provide what you know I need, not what I think I want.  Maybe then I can take a moment where I don't feel the need to "DO" but can simply "BE."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10-10-10: Battlepound

I had hoped to be one of those really awesome diet success stories - only a wimpy version.  Instead of 80 pounds, 10 pounds.  Instead of holding up the pair of jeans with a foot of extra waistband, I could show a victorious jean-buttoning photo with my elastic waste-band skirts still folded in my dresser drawer.  But I would have weekly success, and I would share really great recipes that ensure success, and in the end, I would smile, beaming, 10 pounds lighter and 10 dollars richer...oh and 10 weeks older of course.

I did lose 1 pound in the first calorie-counting, low -sugar eating week.  And then I moved on to "smarter" dieting where I ate more protein and didn't worry so much about calories - I just ate smaller portions and made my carrot cake-pumpkin mini cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, and ate it too.  As per my last post, life being what it is, I didn't write my week two update to tell you all that week two ended with a loss of exactly zero pounds.  I still am down one, and I won't know until Friday what the net for the last three weeks will be.
These actually are healthier than they look...

I am back to cutting out sugar and paying attention to calories.  Though I am sad thinking that the only way to lose weight especially when such a small amount of it, is to give up sugar.  I do a lot of sweets when I cater and I don't know how to not taste test things along the way.  Yesterday I asked every thin person I saw what their secret was, and every one of them said they didn't eat sugar.  Seriously, that doesn't sound fun.

I would also like to note, that my five year old son has an incredible skill.  Really.  He has the ability to actually will green boogers to come out of his nose the moment I start to get ready for the gym and him to the gym childcare center.  It doesn't matter if he has been perfectly healthy and clear-nosed all day.  I am curious if every child has this skill or if my child is particularly gifted.

You might be thinking right about now..."Sara, stop your whining and at least do some leg lifts while you write this blog post!"   And you are right.  I should be doing leg lifts.  I think I am in awe right now of every man and woman everywhere who sets their sights on weight loss and stick to a plan, and see success.  Even one pound is a battle.

 And then of course I think, how ridiculous we Americans must seem to so many of the world - that we have so much food available to us that one of our biggest national epidemics is obesity.  It makes me feel a little ashamed, really.

So as always, I approach dieting with the same basic principal I approach most of my life:  Read a book, analyze, get annoyed when it isn't easy, make jokes about it to keep things in perspective, but then see some underlying, deeper significance or challenge even in the midst of something that could be superficial to most everyone else.  I am doomed.  But I still have 7 1/2 weeks left and though all of the above are true, I am also pretty determined and goal oriented and that 10 dollars still has my name written all over it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Masochistic Faith

Sometimes life just doesn't have any answers left, and all we have is our pain.  I have found that pain heightens the senses and dials up the colors of my life.  I may be walking through my daily routine, and out of no where, something terrible and heartbreaking may hit me.  

And suddenly I am more aware.  

This past week, something like that hit us.  It isn't directly our pain and therefore I cannot share the details here.  Only that we are broken, and we are weeping for those who we love dearly.  I heard a godly woman speak today at a conference, and she made the comment "Because I had the peace of God, though I was taken from all I held dear, I didn't shed a single tear!"  And of course I wondered...does the peace of God = no tears?  Can't we experience God's comfort in the midst of our weeping?  Or once we feel His presence are we meant to take a deep breath and pick up again?  I know she didn't mean to make it sound so simple, but as Christians do we try to make grief and faith a formula?

A confession:  I don't know the answers to this - only that we can draw near to God.  And if we are on the floor too exhausted from our pain to even crawl to Him...well, the Bible says "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit..."

Pain makes me more aware of my need for God and His nearness.  

One of my all time favorite song-writers, Rich Mullins writes a song that has ministered to me time and again.  It goes like this...

Well, sometimes my life just don't make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul I swear there must be blisters on my heart

Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something
I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees
And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

So hold me Jesus, cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?

I don't enjoy feeling lonely to my core.  I don't enjoy feeling betrayed or lied to, or abandoned.  I don't like to feel fear for the future or the depths of heartwrenching loss. I don't like the way it feels when I have blown it big time.   But what I do enjoy is the comfort I feel and the peace that eventually comes even in the midst of pain.  I do enjoy the enhanced colors I see in the world around me and my increased awareness of God and of His goodness, in stark contrast to the times when this world and His people are not good.  

Don't get me wrong...another confession...I don't always go straight to God in prayer.  Sometimes I stew for a bit, get angry, shake my fist at the world and at God and at people, I hyperventilate, I worry, I wonder if I can fix it...But it wasn't until I caught myself and went to God that I felt any amount of peace at all.  

Pain brings me nearer to God and in that really wow-she-is-a-crazy-christian-lady way, I actually am sort-of grateful for it when it comes.  (but Dear God, please don't send it if unnecessary...thank you.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vintage Faith

I was born an old soul.  At least, I was born older.  I was always the responsible and serious one.  I listened to 70's music and the classical music station in Junior High (and it was the 80s).  I bossed my sisters around and asked my friends, "are you sure this is allowed??"  As a young adult I often heard people tell me that I was wise for my age.  (unfortunately now my age has far surpassed my wisdom!)

I also am a sentimental fool.  I love things with meaning, things with stories.  I think family traditions are one of the best things since sliced bread.  And by bread, I mean the kind with stone ground wheat cooked up on a real hearth.  

I love to see clothes up on the line.  I love homemade jam.  I love to find boxes in my Grandma's closet filled with treasures that once belonged to her grandmother.  I keep a journal and write down the stories of my life..I have since I was 10.  I love the smell of old books.  And records.  And old photos.  I love the wedding ring in my jewelry box that once belonged to my mother.  I love to see a church with a steeple.  And pews.  I LOVE pews.  

I have an active imagination and I imagine all the people who walked these roads before me.  And when there are pews, well, I imagine all those who have sat before me.  I imagine those who have worshipped before, struggled before, prayed before, failed and persevered before.  

There are those before these wooden churches.. who I read about in the Bible...Abraham and David, Elijah, Paul and Peter.. those truly human souls who often make the rest of us look good on the one hand and then shamefully apathetic and unbelieving on the other.  There is the Mother Theresa and the Billy Graham and William Wilberforce and Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Elliot, who lived (and live!) with such faith and conviction that I feel humbled and challenged to trust in a God who can do great things with ordinary people.  

But my spiritual heritage is also made up of people like my Grandma.  Who one day, having nothing to eat, and no money in the bank, prayed to God and said "Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills, could you spare some food for us?" That same afternoon a neighbor came over with a side of beef for my grandparents, saying there was too much for their family and could they share?  My Grandfather kept a list of names in his bible, of those he prayed over every day...the names of my parents, my cousins, my name.  My Grandpa has passed on from this world, but I think often of the example he set, of the path he led, both the victories of faith and the failings that made him see his need for God.  

Today Ryan and I had the privilege of sharing a meal and some conversation with the WOW (Wiser, Older, Wittier...aka over 65) group at our church.  Afterwards, a 95 year old woman came up and gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek.  I cannot express quite how much that simple action blessed my day.  This woman has seen more of the world, experienced more change, more loss, more Sundays on a pew, more moments on her knees.  I love that God has designed this life to not go it alone, and he provides people who can forge ahead and who we can learn from.  Oh the stories she can tell!  I am challenged in this "Me-generation" to listen and to appreciate.

What some may see as old and outdated, I see as "standing the test of time" and of lasting interest and importance; venerable; classic.  This was a definition I found for the word "Vintage."  In this pinterest-loving age, I think many of us are learning to love these things that have history, that have significance.  And yet, we don't always recognize how they also can shape us and teach us. And how it isn't just the vintage "things" (like Model T's and WWII memorabilia) and the vintage "experiences" (like keeping chickens in the backyard, or embroidering a handkerchief..).  It is the ideas and the people as well.  It is the faith.  

 I am also challenged to recognize my part in the continuum.  That the way I live out my faith will impact future generations for better or for worse.  Today though, I am thankful to share in the rich history of millions of Christ-followers before me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Not Pioneer Woman:Making Jam

Last Sunday I attempted to make jam for the first time!  In order to prepare for this, I of course got some books on jam-making at the library, and spent countless hours on pinterest and various blogs and websites getting ideas and inspiration.  In previous posts, I have mentioned my inability to post photos, but I obviously am getting the hang of it, even if my pictures aren't that pretty!  So, here is my photo journal of my maiden jam-making experience, and why I am not quite the standard to which you may desire to attain.  :)
I think the original point of canning was to use the produce that you have abundantly available to you on your family farm...or at least in your small backyard.  That is what makes sense and makes it economical as well.  My neighborhood grocery store supplied this year's crop for me though...at apprx. $10 (not on sale) for three bags of frozen fruit.

Lots of good bloggers find their cans on free sites online, garage sales, or from Grandma's attic.  I found my cans at the grocery store for $11, plus sugar and pectin at $4 and $5, respectively.  
This is my instagram photo of me in an anthropologie apron, ready to make jam for the first time...isn't that cute?
This is the ACTUAL apron I wore, an old, stained barista's apron from my pastor-husband's time in the retail world up until recently.  I mean, why would I actually wear the cute one...and get food on it?  Photo ops only people...
I think this is right...sterilizing the jars all whopping 8 of them.  
and the lids...
official canning tongs
mashing my fruit up...
cheating with an immersion blender when the fork thing was taking too long.
4 1/2 cups of healthy fruit...plus 7 1/2 cups of sugar...eek!  Brought this to a boil..
Then added this stuff...two packages of it.  Brought to a boil again for 3-4 minutes
Added 1/4 cup of this...the alcohol burns off and it makes the peaches and raspberries taste soooo good!  Cost for this...$5.
Poured jam into hot jars, 1/8 inch from the top, screwed on lids, and set upside down to um...suction?  I don't have a canner so this was a method I read about online.  

all done!
The instagram version...right before I freaked out that the jam wasn't really safe so I stuck the jars in the freezer anyways, even after "canning" them.  Only $35 to make 8 jars of Peach-Raspberry Amaretto jam.  Apprx. $4.50 a jar...not a good deal at all, but it was fun pretending for the day that I was one of those cool jam-making ladies!  

Friday, October 5, 2012

10-10-10 Week One, Getting Organized

Today marks the one week anniversary of my first real diet expedition since the 10th grade.  Don't get me wrong, every year my New Year's Resolution includes "Go on a diet."  Or at the very least "Eat Healthy."  But I have very little self-discipline in the area of dieting and I have never really taken that particular item on my to-do list seriously.  As a rule follower, I take great satisfaction in breaking the rules that don't really matter.  And Dieting rules don't really matter.

Unless of course, I actually need to lose some weight.  So this week, this is what I did:

Day one and two, I tried to keep track of my calories in my phone and keep them at 1300 calories a day.  I was mostly successful at this.  But I whined.  I cried.  I shook with low blood sugar.  I dreamt about cake (and I don't even like cake).  I dragged my feet and basically just took the whole thing NOT in stride and with an overabundance of drama...to the point that my sometimes-supportive husband was taking bets against my dieting success.  Thanks, hon.  

I quickly realized that simply counting calories was not going to work for me.  I am an over-thinker as it is, and calorie counting just made my head hurt and made me grumpy.  So, on day three, I decided to get organized, stop relying on the internet (which we all know isn't reliable) and go to the true source of undisputed knowledge...the library.  

After perusing the aisle of diet books, and feeling a bit like a dieting-deer-in-the-headlights, I chose a couple books that looked promising - a Jillian Michaels book and one written by two holistic doctors - and read them that night.
The absolute truth...every one of these.

Day four I wrote out my plan based loosely on what I read in the books (my fat-burning style apparently is mixed?  I like protein AND carbs?  I shouldn't eat sugar...I should exercise...okay.)

I did some sprints and lifted weights (which is sooo much better than running long, slow runs...trust me I know - I trained for a marathon last year and lost not one pound).

All week I ate the same salad for lunch just so I wouldn't have to think about it.  Then I went and bought the following:  Beef jerky, rotisserie chicken, broccoli and cabbage slaw, apples, high fiber wheat bread, stevia, almond milk for smoothies, protein powder, a carton of egg whites, salsa and tomatoes, low fat margarine (I had been eating butter on my toast every morning - all those calories!!), and a huge bag of frozen stir fry veggies.  Just having the right foods on hand makes such a difference!

I cut out my five-cups a day of coffee habit to one cup in the morning, and then switched to green tea in the afternoon.

I am getting 8 hours of sleep at night (no netflix for me...though the new JK Rowlings book may be a temptation to stay up).

Day five I woke up with energy!  I went to bed with energy!!  Honestly I was blaming my thyroid, but maybe it was the coffee, or the butter on my toast, or the sugar...

Day six I realized that pickles have zero calories.  If I pay no attention to water weight and hyper-tension, I could totally live off of pickles and vitamins, right?

Last night I ran into a challenge - I cook for my three growing boys and my metabolically blessed husband and I made them beef stroganoff with real beef, real sour cream and real egg noodles.  I hadn't planned ahead my own meal and didn't feel like eating one tablespoon of stroganoff,  which is about the serving size I could have had. So I stir fried some broccoli slaw and cabbage and chopped rotisserie chicken in a tablespoon of teriyaki.  It was yummy, but I had broccoli slaw and cabbage and chicken for lunch, only in salad form.  So it was a little redundant.  But slowly, but surely I am getting organized, I feel better, I am starting new habits.  9 weeks to go and my bet is on me! (for now)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

D is for Sock Doggies

Last week we studied the letter D, Benny and me.  We made some Dragon Feet out of tissue boxes that we got from the dollar store, emptied of tissue and shoved under the sink to use when we run out of toilet paper.  Ben painted them with glitter glue and we cut out the toes from toilet paper rolls.

Then we decided we wanted to make sock puppets, so in honor of the letter "D" we made sock Doggies which doesn't really have a nice ring to it, does it?  But at least it uses the letter "D".  We each made a sock doggie and then for good measure I made blue-haired Abigail...since I only own one color of yarn (blue) and I named her Abigail because it just sounded right in the bad southern accent I used when I started puppeting with her.

Then we decided to make a puppet theater, which doesn't have a "D" anywhere - not in the scarf I cut up to use for curtains, or the string I used to hold them back.  Not for the sun made out of cardboard and pipecleaners, or the clouds Ben glued cotton balls on.  Nor is there a "D" in the paper grass that Ben colored with marker and taped on by himself or the popsicle sticks he attached to the ceiling of the theater.  The apple tree with seed pods and leaves glued on does not teach the letter "D" either.  Oh well - we had fun with it.  F for Fun.  :)

We of course also practiced writing the letter "D" and walked around the house naming things that start with the letter "D" (which was conspicuously absent from our theater project).  We went to the library and got some books about Dinosaurs and Dragons and Dogs.  We opened doors, we danced, we ate donuts (he did), we drank (milk) which was delicious I daresay.

Dwayne the Sock Doggie

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sometimes they're true (stereotypes, that is)

Ryan asked me the other day why I blog...good question.

Since I have already established that I have no real niche - food?  crafts?  homeschool?  mom? wife? smart aleck?  - I decided that it is mostly an outlet for me to write and to analyze myself, the world, and everything (and everyone) in it.  Another reason, as per my blog title, is to hopefully set up a more realistic picture of what a pastor's wife may or may not look like.  

The bottom line is, in my real life ups and downs, moderate disfunctions and humanity, I hope to show that pastor's wives are pretty normal and will never live up to the stereotypes that we set for them.  

 But, sometimes, they're true.  

(And honestly, that feels like a confession of sorts, because being a messed-up wise-cracking pastor's wife seems so much cooler than being an iced tea drinking, Sunday-school teaching pastor's wife.)

I may not be called "sweet" by too many of my friends, but I have been called "loyal, thoughtful, and authentic."  I may write grocery lists sometimes on the church bulletin, but more often than not, I write out real notes and have been deeply convicted by things spoken from the pulpit.  

I don't go to every church potluck...but when I do, I really love to cook and will happily taste every dish in attendance and discuss recipes with the best of them.  

I crack jokes, I roll my eyes, I laugh at myself, I sit in the back row sometimes.  But I am a follower of Jesus and I happen to believe that the institution of  church and the community it provides is necessary to live out what God calls us to live out and I take that seriously.  

Sometimes I skip my bible study or cram the night before.  But I don't swear and I don't jay-walk, and I would probably self-combust if I thought I was breaking the law in any way (this was me BEFORE I was a pastor's wife or a Christian for that matter).  

I own a jean skirt.  And wear it.  (often at the moment since it is one of the things I can squeeze into).

I fight with my kids and my husband, I read books out of the young adults section of the library and Oprah picks, I listen to all genres of music (I like rap and RnB).  I hang out with people of different faiths and play hookie from church. I have an addictive personality and will chain-watch shows on netflix till 2 in the morning.   As stated in the blog title, I don't have big hair and I don't sing or play piano.  A break from stereotype.

But I drive a minivan, have fun doing crafts with my kids, am attempting to learn to make jam, wear an apron from 4pm-7pm pretty much every day (ok it's like a bib for clutzy and messy adults), go to bible study with the gals and love it, and trust that in everything I do, whether stereotypical "good Christian girl/pastor's wife" or not so much, that God is in it and He is working.  

So, whether jam-making, or home-schooling, diet-attempting, or running, church - attending or church-skipping, introspecting or others-analyzing, my purpose in blogging is to chronicle real life - and sometimes I will sound and look the way people think I should, and sometimes, I won't.  But it will always be (mostly) true and it will always be (mostly) real. And there are thousands of real bloggers out there and most are probably better than me, but maybe my real will connect with someone else's real which may end up helping us both.