Friday, November 28, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday

Click on over to Jennifer at Conversion Diary for my 7 Quick Takes inspiration ala Mr. Linky.

Praise the Lord! I found a redeeming quality of that horrible Strawberry Pretzel Salad I'm obliged to make every holiday - I get to use my offset spatula! I love that thing! (But I still hate the salad).

And a two.
Made 6 soups in 4 days this week. My name is CJJ16, and I'm a soupaholic. I live in Iowa. It's winter. 'Nuf said. Whipped up some great combinations, including the butternut squash soup that I forgot about but was reminded when someone dear to me bought it at a restaurant. I think the entire batch cost me less than $2.00 AND I got to use another of my favorite gadgets - my immersion blender. Brrruuummm. Brrruuummmm. Used lots of other fun stuff this week like wheat berries, cous cous, quinoa, brown basmati, and multiple kinds of beans.

And a three.
I dragged out the old Kirby this week to vacuum the basement. It's been on loan and bagless for a while, and I only need it for downstairs. While unwrapping the cord, I swear I heard my youngest say "Tirby too loud, Mom!" But not possible. He's no longer 3 (he's 28), and no longer lives here :( But I heard him say it; I really did. And it was perfectly blissful nostalgia. Until I turned it on and my cat went postal on me.

And a four.
Psalm 51 rocked both Ron Burgundy and me this week. I've read it at least 4 times after listening to Pastor John give an awesome prayer message about it last week. Go for it. It's worth the listen. Or you can find it in iTunes.

And a five.
I'm feeling very cheap. One of my favorite bloggers wrote about how "Christians Are The Worst Tippers Ever" this week and I felt convicted and determined to be more generous starting today. I've always tipped according to etiquette (I thought) but stopped there out of frugality (read: stinginess). Ron Burgundy, however, is one of those very generous ones, tipping the less-than-stellar servers simply because that's who he is. Generous, almost to a fault. One of the blog comments particularly struck a chord with me..."Frugality is not a fruit of the Spirit." Can I get an Amen?

And a six
Gma has Thanksgiving dinner "for the last time." This is the 3rd year she's had it "for the last time." What do you want to bet we'll be back next year (hopefully), Strawberry Pretzel Salad in tow (hopefully not).

And a seven.
Harold is tucked in the corner of our bedroom for the winter, basking by the bay window, and happy as a clam. Chuckie and Sam, however, didn't make it. Chuckie never got past the seedling stage, and Sam just got too old, straggly, and listless by summer's end. Hopefully I don't get taken to the compost pile when the family notices I've become the same way.
Tea today: Tazo Zen

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Post


Angie has removed the post I referred to below. Suffice it to say it was beautiful, poignant, and heartfelt. That being said, her challenge was for us to give thanks for something in our life that we really aren't too happy to have, as God has commanded us to be thankful in all things. The link below will now take you to Angie's main blog page.


It was all going through my mind this morning as I awoke in the dark. Deep, cold dark. I wanted to write an awesome Thanksgiving post about all the things in my life that I am grateful to God for giving me. Because I am so very grateful. Ron Burgundy. Kids. Home. Job. God's grace.

I grabbed my laptop, but made the mistake of going to my feed reader first.

Oh. My.

I could never do a Thanksgiving post that says it better than this. Thank you, Angie, for humbling yourself, for allowing us to see our true selves, and for blessing us with your exquisite writing. Your pain has brought us gain in God's grace. I pray you're feeling Him with you today.

And I accept your Thanksgiving challenge. With gratitude.

"The test of thankfulness is not what you have to be thankful for, but whether anyone else has reason to be thankful that you are here."

Tea today: Snow Water Green Cloud

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cleaning my house heart for Christmas

Let me be very clear. I love Christmas. I am not a Scrooge. Sure, I pester Ron Burgundy about the enormous excess of lights and decorations while he feverishly competes with the disordered electrical chaos of Clark Griswold every year, but I also know that's one of the pleasures he finds in the Season, and that it really isn't about "the lights" so much. He considers it a gift to the many who drive by with ooohhs and aahhhhs. (But please, this year, can we put the manger with Sweet Baby Jesus next to Mary and Joseph rather than among the reindeer???)

I really do love Christmas.

And the peace that's supposed to come with it.


I stress over some of the baggage the holiday season brings, and I don't like the fact that the passion of the celebration has moved from the manger to the mall with multiple stops in between. Black Friday. Massive gift lists. Overeating. Time constraints. Getting the house ready (as in the yearly cleaning). It just takes away from the passion of how I intend to celebrate the birth of my Savior better this year.

I'm getting some perspective.... old habits die hard.

Tea today: Green with Chinese flower

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

Not me, but my 29 1/2 year old daughter did not remind me she was 29 1/2 last week. At what age do children stop counting half birthdays? Because I will not be 57 1/2 on my son's 32nd birthday next month! (Yes, young blog friends, it sounds old because it is! But it's also just a number...)

I did not stay awake all night Friday - not because Ron Burgundy was gone, not because I was scared to be alone (I love solitude), but because there was an ANIMAL in my chimney (do gas fireplaces have chimneys that animals can get down?) and it was scratching and squawking and Snickers sat howling in front of the fireplace all night like it was her job and like that clawless feline could really do something about it if she caught whatever it was and oh my, what a horrible sentence this ended up being. Joe Mama does not rest well under these circumstances. The scary thing is that it's quiet in there now. So next week I will probably post that my house does not smell like a dead animal. Or if I turn on the fireplace, that it does not smell like a roasted bird with smoking tail feathers.

I did not show my bum to everyone who was behind me and to my right in the gym on Saturday. My well-traveled exercise pants seriously need to be converted to a dust rag. Perhaps my house could benefit as well. But that thread-bare spot on my right cheek? Nope, not mine.

Closely related to above, I did not go to work last week looking (and thus feeling) frumped out every single day. Every sense of sass, spunk, or style left my being. Think: 80's cotton turtlenecks (I had have one of every color in the Crayola box), 90's crew neck sweaters, a once-trendy denim jacket abandoned in a closet from one of my sons' long-ago girlfriends (even Gap stuff gets old), hair straggly & badly in need of a cut & hilight, and one day I even wore navy socks with black pants. Hey, it's dark when I leave in the morning. Those obligatory "green" light bulbs don't shed much light for tired, trifocaled eyes. Goal for this week is not a makeover of minor proportions.

Tea today: Young hyson

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Doggone "C" word

Lucky's not feeling well today. But probably better than I am. He seems to have a better peace about him than I do. ***heavy sigh***

Tea today: Genmaicha

Friday, November 21, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday

Slip over to Conversion Diary for the inspiration of my Friday ramblings.

Strawberry pretzel salad for Thanksgiving dinner is always my assignment. It is not a salad. It is a sugary and gross dessert. But for all things good and holy (read: family peace) I will make it. Ughh.

And a two.
My co-workers are the bomb. I'd never get staycation without their hard work and insistence that I leave. I'm taking that as either 1) compassion or 2) recognition of burnout.

And a three.
Say a prayer for my kids this weekend. I'll spare the details. Just pray, please? Amen.

And a four.
Conan replacing Leno is like....just not right. I predict ratings will plummet. They will at my house.

And a five.
I came this close to stopping and buying french fries (just small ones!) on my way home from work today. I haven't had a grease craving forever and can't even remember the last time I bought fries. Settled for a diet pop and came home for wheat berry salad. So glad I did!
***Update*** Godwink to MckMama! She's having another contest so stop by her awesome blog!

And a six.
Jerry Bridges will keep me awake tonight - even though I'm exhausted. Ron Burgundy isn't home, so I won't be sleeping, or sleeping fitfully at best. Thanks Jerry. And God, for Your Word.

And a seven.
The turducken has to be the most disgusting food item ever created. Cooks on crack? Until I saw one of these, I thought the running gears in a single turkey leg were gross. I seriously don't think this was God's intent when he had Noah load up that ark. For all things good and holy, get a tofurkey.

Why to my "good and holy references" always refer to food?

Tea tonight: Harney & Sons green with citrus

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby Tears

I cried twice today.

Every mother's prayer. Babies. Her babies. Those seemingly perfect-in-every way babies that grow up to be imperfect human beings who need each other and learn the hard way how much they need the Lord. So what was so sad about this beautiful picture I've put in your mind?

I didn't say I was sad. I merely said I was crying.

I held a baby boy this evening, almost 16 weeks old. Peach-fuzz-baby-smelling head. Chipmunk cheeks. He fussed, then I did the baby sway with him (I haven't forgotten how because I still do it in church with no baby in my arms). He fell asleep on my shoulder, so I sagged my weary back into the couch and this onesied-bundle did the baby-wriggle-gonna-nestle-up-real-close-heavy-sigh REM sleep thing on my chest. And as I covered him with his blanket, I cried. It was a moment that took me back 31 years and that overwhelming feeling of baby passion just overtook me. Sometimes it doesn't even matter whose baby it is.

And then.

I went to see the unveiling of the engagement pictures of my eldest baby and his beautiful fiance. Fresh faces. Brilliant leaves. Autumn sunshine. Adoring smiles. Sappy (albeit tear-jerking) music background.

I cried again.

I cried out of gratitude for three healthy grown babies and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law. I cried out of angst for days gone by. I cried over mistakes I've made and things left undone that may or may not have changed anything at all. The embrace of His grace now brings me peace in my exhaustion and I'm ready to fall into that snuggly sleep just like those babies used to. Without the onesie.

But just one more time, I think I'll cry.
Three times today.

Tea tonight: Numi Monkey King

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

I did not drive Ron Burgundy's truck all day Saturday to run errands and go to the gym, because he did not take my car to Iowa City. To do so would have required gas, a step ladder, a haz-mat suit, a N-95 respirator, serious post-driving decontamination, a tetanus shot, and PTSD therapy. "Not me!" Monday is my therapy. Thanks, MckMama! I am not annoyed by the fact that while idling in said truck, my bum shakes. Yeah, it's that bad (both the bum and the truck). Caveat: this poor excuse of a vehicle does not define the loving, kind, and gentle man who drives it. And it's not the hill I want to die on.

I did not mutter and get downright angry at the W**mart corporation yesterday when looking for a pet hair remover refill - you know, the ones that are like a giant roll of masking tape only backwards? I had 5 different handles at home and none of the refills in the stores fit them. But voila! They can sell you a NEW AND IMPROVED one (so now I need to buy yet another handle) with the "new and improved" refills hanging right next to them. I was not suckered into buying one, plus refills (black dog, white cat, need I say more?) then came home and tossed angrily chucked every other one I had in the trash. It's a conspiracy. And if my dog wasn't dying, I might not be so upset about it.

I do not get utterly confused jumping from blog to blog with buttons and gadgets and give-aways and contests and finding that all of these wonderful friends that I've met are also friends with each other and are also Facebook Facecrack friends and I can't remember where I've been and if I'm even posting what I want to say on the right blog (whew)! Not me. (Who did you say you were, and are you the one who emailed me about my dog and my dad? Please be patient with me, I'm old).

I did not have some deep tearful prayers for friends and family last week. I did not want them to feel God's presence in the midst of the storm, and to understand that He doesn't always calm the storm, but He does calm His children in the storm. He's looking for them. I hope they find Him. These words hit me hard in church Saturday and I did not cry (from Came to My Rescue):

I called....You answered...And you came to my rescue...And I want to be where You are

I was not blown away by the number of hurting people out there who responded when MckMama offered to pray for them. It didn't break my heart to see how much hurt, angst, and need there is in our broken world. I did not post one myself, and upon hitting the "publish post" button, feel a peace over me that this, too, is going to be ok, but only through the power of so many people praying to our loving God, even though He knows what we need. He just wants us to talk to Him.

and on a lighter note...

I did not take my screens down on all 25 windows. It's only NOVEMBER!! What was I thinking? WoO hOo!

Tea today: Yogi green with triple echinacea

Friday, November 14, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday is God's answer to that dreaded disease Blogger Block. 7 random thoughts. I roll well when asked to be random. Go visit Conversion Diary for the Mr. Linky and some great posts.

When you're done praying fervently for something to change/happen/get fixed, how often do you then continue to pray just as much and often out of gratitude? Or do you just go to God when there's something desperate in your life? Today has brought me an attitude of gratitude. Enough said. For now.

And a two.
When pomegranate season is over I'm going to be in withdrawal. This is a premature comment because the good poms are just now starting to appear and I have at least two months to hoard them. And I have been. They are hidden. Do not steal my poms or I will have to send the men with trenchcoats and guitar cases after you. Let me rephrase that....only if you show deep appreciation for the beauty of a pom from pickin' to eatin' will I share with you. They are a Biblical fruit and must be treated as such. And yes, I'll take your recipes, but I really like them naked the best.

And a three.
I'm debating whether I should taked any more pictures of my dog as he nears the Bridge, or if the only pictures I have of him should remain young, healthy, vibrant, and without visible signs of cancer. I'm not talking gross pictures, but should I take some that show how he is right now? I just wonder....and I really wish he'd talk to me. Like when he falls or trips over his own feet or over the feet of his imaginary playmate - is he embarrassed? Does he hurt? Is his brain confused? I do know he still loves me. And yes, the blind can see.

And a four.
I am so proud of my daughter's honed spiritual writing skills. I wait for Sunday nights with anticipation like I used to wait for my favorite TV show to come on - a constant that just sort of swept me away from the present. Now my TV is never on but my feed reader is.

And a five.
I'm back into reading more of Jerry Bridges. This time it's "Trusting God Even When Life Hurts." It has me much more comfortable about the state of our nation, the state of our world, and the state of my spirit. What state are you in? Besides, like Iowa, I mean. Don't pity me; it's really a wonderful place.

And a six.
Tomorrow is a no-commute, no-alarm, flexible plan day. It makes shopping for vacuum bags and browsing the Treasure Chest and Roots a dream come true (how pathetic is that)? I look forward to working out at the gym without wondering how fast I have to move to get home fix supper (and then decide not to eat). If I wake up at 5 am, I'm really going to be mad, but I assure you it won't happen. If, however, I wake up at 9, I'll never get those vacuum bags. Again.

And a seven.
Can't wait for this week's podcast from's Practical Atheist series. Groeschel's hit some spiritual nerves with me the past couple of weeks.

You call yourself a Christian.

Are you who you say you are?

His sermons have been a huge blessing that emerged from my dreaded commute. I'm sure that's why gas is now $1.84 a gallon. Can I get an Amen?

Tea Today: Tazo Zen

Thursday, November 13, 2008

(Un)Comfortable in My Own Sin

I just finished reading (and studying, and discussing) Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges with an awesome group of women at church. It was a book I could have finished in a day, and normally would have, but taking a book like this and really digging in for 10 weeks and studying, soaking up the concepts, and feeling convicted, rather than just reading and thinking "How true" or "He's exactly right"....well, it was just an experience I really want to have again. Soon. That, coupled with getting to know other women who are 25 years younger and 25 years older, yet sharing common bonds of being stuck in those sins we tolerate as women, wives, was truly a spiritual experience for me.

It's one thing to be comfortable in your own skin (which has taken me many years) but to be comfortable in your own sin, now that's a different story. And one I plan to rewrite. Thank goodness for that Gift of Grace, for it's never too late to write your story.

What's your story about His glory?

Tea tonight: Republic of Tea Honey Ginger

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Favorite Veteran on 11/11

Thanks, Dad, for all you did...for me, our family, our country. This is a special day in many ways. There's that 11/11 again, as the Holy Spirit tippy toes into my day.

Tea today: Stash Fusion, Green & White

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

I did not lose a package of frozen salmon when taking it from one freezer to the next. Nope. I cleaned out the deep freeze in the garage and the freezer in the kitchen, trying to get all the foodstuffs organized. I decided I was "salmoned out" and would put the package in the freezer in the garage. A day later, I decided I was "salmoned in" again, and do you think I could find it??? I even went through the garbage! Well another day later, I did not find it in the closet in the laundry room. Now who would do something like that???

I did not clean & sort 9 pomegranates this week, carefully bagging the perfect garnet jewels in ziplock bags to keep each one separate. I also didn't make 4 different recipes using pomegranates, then proceed to eat the remainder of the fruit like it was my job, leaving me with only one small bag for this week. Thank goodness I'm the only one here who likes them.

I did not throw away tons of junk from my kids' rooms this weekend. Useless stuff that has been here for 10+ years and nobody wants. Empty CD cases, clothes, school papers, unrecognizible pictures of peoples backs. Nope, not "gettin' up a load to go." Not me!

I did not feel pulled by God to say a special prayer for MckMama last night. A special, special prayer. Just because I could and because she deserved it and I know how God rolls....and answers.

Tea today: Bigelow green with pomegranate (sense a theme here?)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

Oh, I had so many plans for this "staycation." A few of them got accomplished - the insignificant ones. I wonder if you can guess from my list what I did. I say "did" because its all over now. And that 2 weeks was simply a blur. I was decompressing from several months of poor sleep, environmental frustrations (aka dirty, cluttered, in-need-of-repair-and-updating house), 12-14 hour work days, no time with friends or family, and barely enough time to sit on the pity pot because of it. So here was my "to do" list.
  • Read 3 books I've had in the "hopper"
  • Strip the wallpaper from the dining room and paint
  • Gather clothes for Goodwill and take them in
  • Fall pond and yard clean-up
  • Scrub the floors
  • De-cobweb - all the way up the 19 ft ceilings
  • Start my "Read the Bible in a Year" project
  • Bring in Sam and Harold for the winter
  • Exercise every day (get tennis shoes out of Goodwill bag first)
  • Have lunch with several people I've put off for a long, long time
  • Find some bargain clothes so I don't stare at the same rags every morning, some which my daughter wore in junior high
  • Shop in Des Moines for a Mother of the Groom dress
  • Bond with my puppy who is nearing the Rainbow Bridge
  • Take my screens down
  • Get all the broken window shades fixed
  • Clean out and organize the deep freeze
  • Cook and freeze lunches for the next few weeks
  • Get the rental house rented
  • Wash all the sheets on the kids' beds and clean their rooms for the next visit
  • Search and gather items for consignment
  • Help with the "Honey Do" list that has been ongoing for 11 years

We Plan, God Laughs (great book!)

Tea tonight: Good Earth green with lemongrass

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I love Fall. The crispy leaves underfoot, gathering in favorite corners, even the smell of them burning waxes nostalgia in my heart. The fall-scented air is so refreshing and there's even something great about the its coldness burning my lungs. Yeah, those things are all beautiful, but nothing compared to the real reason God created Fall....

Pomegranate season!

I hoard them. I buy them by the case. I cook with them. I eat them like popcorn. Salads. Muffins. Sauces. Martinis. They are not simply a food, they are a gustatory experience for anyone, foodie or not. Everyone should partake in the opening, separating and of course the delightful explosion of flavor in your mouth. (No fair if you make someone else open them and then you eat them all). If you ever doubted for a brief second whether intelligent design exists, cut open a pomegranate. They are the most perfectly designed food ever created - nutritionally and visually articulate in every way.

Gotta run - just bought a sack full ready to open!

Tea tonight: Green with pomegranate (who knew?)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm a Voter; Shouldn't You Be a Voter, Too?

I voted today, and for all reasons good and holy (read: I hate confrontation) I'm not sayin' who got my vote. The best thing about waking up tomorrow, since I'm NOT staying up to watch any results....

God will be exactly the same.

I vote for that.

Tea today: Dragonwell long-jing

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm so humbled.....

I was in a small discussion group about "impatience and irritability" at my Bible study tonight, and one of the participants was a young college woman, recently engaged, finding her way in her walk with God and this whole marriage thing that is looming ahead. She's a beautiful young lady, and we engaged in a lot of "off the subject" conversations during our assignment, finding we have a lot in common (other than impatience and irritability!) such as biking and eating "nuts and twigs."

Afterwards she approached me shyly and asked me if I would consider being a mentor to her - she wants to learn more about how life will go on from here as a Christian woman, a wife, a student, and eventually a mother. I was truly honored - I'm certainly not an expert in any of those areas, but I've been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it.

I couldn't help but admire her desires and curiosity about what lies ahead for her. She's wise beyond her years. She's taking nothing for granted, taking life very seriously, and definitely a woman on a mission. She's an admitted "Recovering Type A" but her kindness and candor tell me she's open to God's best for her.

I'm excited to meet with her again. I have no idea how to mentor anyone, other than just be me and see what God has planned for both of us. Thank you, A, for honoring me with this request. You were a gift from God today, and truthfully, I'm sure I'll learn as much if not more from you.

Tea tonight: Green with kiwi pear

"Not me! Monday

I did not praise God with all my heart and do not remain in awe of His wonder as MckMama gave birth to a healthy baby week after being told earlier in her pregnancy that "certainly he will die." I did not repeat "God is Good!" a hundred times since he was born!

I did not chuckle as I walked past the clock in my stairwell (as I have for the past 6 months now), knowing I didn't have to bother to reset it for daylight savings time. I didn't do the "spring forward" last spring. Only a slacker would do something so stupid on a clock so visible. And while I'm on the subject of clocks, the bedroom clock is not 45 minutes fast, the kitchen clock is not 10 minutes fast, and my car clock is not 15 minutes fast, because I am always on time where ever I go. If I used the clock on my cell phone, I would seriously never be anywhere on time ~~~~~ which I am. Uh huh.

I absolutely did not pick the woman named Candy for my accountability partner in Bible study this week because I was so tired, I was afraid I wouldn't remember anyone elses name!

I did not spend an entire day (or three) of my staycation doing absolutely nothing other than staring at and cuddling my dog Lucky and updating his Doggyspace page. I did not grieve, knowing he will be going to the Rainbow Bridge sooner than later. Our friends on Doggyspace do not think I'm nuts like the friends who read my blog do.

I did not (along with Ron Burgundy) win the TRIFECTA this weekend! Holy, Holy Trifecta! Three church services is all one needs for a perfect fall weekend. We attended church with our beautiful daughter at Lutheran Church of Hope (thank you, Pastor Scott for teaching about healing and recovery) on Saturday evening, went to early service at Prairie Lakes Sunday (Pastor John, I know how to pray finally!), then to St. Tim's Sunday at 11. I am not churched. Nope, not me. Wow, it feels great.

I did not make white chocolate macadamia nut cookies to take to my baby's last football game tailgate. The last time I made cookies was at least 12 years ago. I am not a different person now. But it was for my baby (who needs to return to a 34-inch waist and will do so when the cookies are gone, I hope, for the sake of his heart). I also did not dump the remainder of the Halloween candy with him. Surely he will share it with some of his athletes who need the calories...

Tea today: Green with wildflowers and citrus

Saturday, November 1, 2008

11/1 - There Are No Accidents

Up during another restless/sleepless night. Not sure what the problem is...

The date, perhaps? I recall this post.

Today's post is #111 for me. Hmmmm....

My late mother-in-law was born on this day, rest her soul.

A long-ago friend was born on this day. A friendship that, shall we say, moved on...

Last night we moved a couch that weighed about 1,111 lb. (est.) down from the second floor and out to the truck. OK, that's exaggerating. It will take 111 days for my back to recover. Possibly.

Whatever all of this means, I wish I knew. I'm trusting in Him that it's a good thing.
***Update*** Just happened to catch the football scoreboard with 11:11 left in the game this afternoon. Took a cell phone picture, but couldn't see the time on it.... trust me!

Tea tonight: Green with kiwi/pear