Saturday, January 31, 2009

Win a (blog) makeover!

If you're anything like me, you're feeling a little saggy, baggy and in need of a makeover. OK, well you're cool and I'm stuck but we can always get our blogs spiffed up. My blog backgrounds and headers get boring quickly. I need a theme - do you? Beth in NC is having a contest so head on over to hers and try to win! Just click her button below!

Heading towards my destiny

Tea this afternoon: leftover breakfast Jasmine

What Kurt Warner and I have in common

With all the Super Bowl hype, and my obvious favoritism for Kurt Warner, I realized we have an awful lot in common. OK, that's a stretch. I sound like a groupie (I am). But whenever a good Christian Iowa boy who used to work at my favorite grocery store hits the Super Bowl, ya just gotta give him a shout out in a blog that's read by hundreds tens a handful of readers.

  1. We both hail from Eastern Iowa.
  2. We both put faith and family first. But our jobs take us away from family more than we like.
  3. We both have children of whom we are very proud.
  4. We love our spouses unconditionally.
  5. We are both great quarterbacks. You don't think so? I'm a kitchen quarterback, however. Just give me some space and I'll spiral a baguette your way.
  6. We both have whiskers.
  7. We both graduated from UNI - he left just before I started my Master's program. (If this makes me sound young, alas, I was one of those non-traditional students and the oldest one in my program).
  8. We share the belief that with God, all things are possible.
  9. We probably both wear the same size shoes.

You may think you share a lot of the same traits. Come join the club. I'm claiming Kurt and the Cardinals this weekend as big winners. And if they don't win, Kurt will still be my BFF. Watch why.

Tea today: Jasmine

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Power Bars for Power Boy

Ever since Ron Burgundy took up his 5 am Xtreme Kickboxing class, he's actually been into nutrition. Never mind what I've said for 35 years - he has a "professional" now to tell him what to eat. (At least that Masters Degree hasn't gone wasted on my patients, I say silently in my head. Not sure what our he thinks our dietitian daughter went to school for. Or the athletic trainer son). He has forsaken the Gummi Bears, Twizzlers, and Sundrop. Who would have ever thunk? This is the guy who trained for 9 marathons on pure sugar. Perhaps it's that birthday creeping up. Or the fact that now that he's tried eating whole, raw, and nutty, he feels a heck of a lot better.

One of his favorite treats has always been my Mamaspecialpowerbars (what else are you going to call a recipe you've tweaked for 10 years)? They are perfect for long bike rides. I'm talking summer bike rides, when it's not -20 degrees, and I always pack them on trips because they travel so easy and keep for several days lost in the bottom of a computer bag.

If anyone has a legitimate substitute for the marshmallows, let me in on your secret. It's the only ingredient I don't like in this recipe, but the others cancel them out, right? I've tried honey and agave nectar, but they don't stick together very well.

* Exported from MasterCook *
MamaSpecialPower Bars

4 cups miniature marshmallows
2/3 cup fresh ground peanut butter
2 Tablespoons canola oil margarine
2 cups brown rice krispies (I use Barbara's Brown Rice Crisps)
2 cups granola (my fav is "honey gone nuts")
2/3 cup rough chopped almonds -- toasted
2/3 cup ground flax seed (I use a mixture of gold and brown)
handful of craisins or dried blueberries

Put first 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl, microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted and smooth. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl. Add rice krispie mixture to marshmallow mixture, stirring quickly to combine ingredients. Flax seed will go to the bottom of the bowl and stick in the marshmallow, so scrape bowl quickly with a large metal spoon coated with canola oil. Put a little margarine on your fingers and mix by hand if necessary.

Put the mixture in a 9 X 13 pan that has been lightly coated with canola oil (I use a sprayer). Push down firmly so mixture is uniform in the pan. (I use a piece of waxed paper and smash down with brick.) Let mixture cool, cut into 16 pieces, bag or wrap individually, and freeze.

Makes 16 bars. Hide them. Don't tell the kids they're in the freezer. They will go quickly.
Tea today: Tazo Zen

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. (I won't mention that she cheated and pre-posted so she could spend some time in the Caribbean this week. After all, it's in the single digits here and I'm not envious in the least).

I did not wear the same charcoal gray pants to work 4 out of 5 days this week. I mean everything goes with these pants, right? And as Mom always said "You'll never notice on a gallopin' horse." Now, I'm just waiting for those "What Not to Wear" folks to hunt me down and shoot me.

I did not find myself missing the tennis court and my tennis buddies so much that I went back in the archives and found an old picture of me at...err....Wimbledon, was it? Yeah, check out those guns. And I taught Maria Sharapova everything she knows...

I did not find myself in the horrible position of telling a long-time friend/employee that she no longer has a job after 27 years of loyalty to our organization and to her patients. It was not one of the hardest things I ever did, and I certainly would have handled it with the grace and acceptance that she did. This economy does not stink.

I did not find it hurtful that a certain someone did not stop to see me, Ron Burgundy, or Lucky when he was in town this weekend :P LET.IT.GO.

OK, I'm over it (or will be, eventually).

I have not become so immersed in my current Beth Moore Bible study that I've read ahead about 2 weeks. Some of the most simple scripture speaks so loudly, doesn't it?

I did not spend the whole day cooking "people food" for my dog, and nothing for Ron Burgundy. Aw heck, I taught him (RB, not the dog) how to make wraps so it really doesn't matter. Wrap and roll.

Tea today: Snow Water Green Cloud

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Butterfly Kisses!

My blog friend Liz over at Eternal Lizdom has graciously given me the Butterfly Award! No hoops, no tricks, just a sweet little award from a sweet little lady that I'm honored to pass on to a few of my favorites. I do this in honor of my mother, who loves the Christian symbolism of the butterfly, and who has threatened to disinherit me if I ever get her a computer.

I'm passing this award on to:

4under3. How does this mom do it - manage a beautiful family AND rock the blogosphere? Her tweets keep me giggling all day long, too.

Loving Mom 2 Boys. Liz has some great posts with the most darling pictures of her boys that don't appear to sit still much.

A Wrinkle in Time. In honor of Kameron's 100th post and her penchant for contests!

Congratulations, ladies!

Tea today: Tazo Green Ginger

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Everybody's Watching

When I saw this video aired on Nightly News last night, I couldn't help but think of my own kids as they grew up.

True, their Dad was never the President, but in these parts (read: 24 counties), everybody knows Dad. And while there are thousands of kind and loyal viewers who bestow honors and fill out Nielsen books faithfully and think he's "all that," there are those who criticize everything from ties to hair to comments made during transitions.

I'd be remiss to say the kids always took the "famous" hype humbly, but they were, in fact, kids. Selfish in nature (seriously, aren't we all?), they name-dropped when it was to their advantage, and the boys, in particular, sported a certain swagger when it came to that pretty-girl-pick-up line.

Expections were a bit higher for them, because after all, Dad holds a position of respect in the community. Some of them (boys, you shall remain nameless) took full advantage of pushing the envelope, thinking they were above the law and that Dad's connections would allow them to do exactly as they pleased. That's when Bad Cop (aka, me) stepped in and was the first to utter "Book 'em, Danno."

The Father of Second-Shift Guilt was not the disciplinarian in the House of Steele.

At the end of the day, it's important that people recognize what "being famous" means at our house.

It means you get invited to parties and events by people you don't even know.

It means people are offended if you don't know them, because they know you and really, don't you see them every day?

It means your skin gets really, really thick from the criticism (like the woman who shot off a nasty email when he said "Our new President Barack Obama" instead of "President Barack Obama..."). Geesh.

It means your sons get all the girls and the guys are scared to date your daughter (and rightly so).

It means you don't go to Home Depot, Hy-Vee, or the mall without a thousand greetings from perfect strangers (and people still recognize you in a hooded sweatshirt).

It means yes, you really are shorter in person than you appear on TV.

BUT, also, at least in our house:

It means you put your pants on, one leg at a time, just like everybody else.

It means you have feelings, dreams, and visions for your family, just like everybody else.

It means you walk around with a hole in the seat of the pants of your expensive suits from carrying your Bible with you. Every. Single. Day.

It means you love attending personal events (graduations, funerals, weddings) of families you have featured in stories that ripped at your heart.

It means your humility and respect for others trumps every bit of anger, cynicism, and pride that ever welled up inside of you.

It means you speak very kind things about your wife to anyone who cares to listen, even though she is often not deserving (remember, she's Bad Cop).

It means you spend hours editing a video about your dog before he goes to the Rainbow Bridge, because when he goes, you know your heart will be too broken to focus on the task.

And in your heart, it means the most important status that was ever granted to you is that of "Dad." And those people who call you that are the most important people in the world to you (well, them, and Bad Cop)

In the end, my kids have a lot to learn from this, and I pray they will remember who their dad really is in his heart and dismiss the salty few of those half million viewers who think he is someone he is not.

"For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

Tea today: Green with lemongrass

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Calling All Prayer Warriors

A dear friend is having a big surgery tomorrow. Please pray for peace, pain control, and a positive outcome. Many tears have been shed with her, over her, and in prayer for her. She is in God's hands.

Tea tonight: Young hyson

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I have not dutifully tied my dog up every day to his cable that is broken in half (and only 3 feet long) to let him out to do his business. Poor thing doesn't go any further than the cable ever took him before it broke. Old dog, new trick. Of course, I'm trying to find the message in the broken cable - is there one? That cable is 14 years old....or 98 in dog years.

I did not spend a total of 36 hours flat on my back in bed last week as a result of an inner ear infection. It did not force me to "army crawl" to the bathroom, and the cat did not think I was down there to play. Ugh, misery, albeit short-lived.

I did not have a full-blown, tear-stained meltdown when I put on underwear with the elastic in the legs all stretched out and sagging. OK, so it wasn't the underwear exactly that I was melting down about (that's for another post), but something had to be the catalyst for what was just bound to happen sooner or later. So why not saggy, over-washed granny-panties? Shattering my favorite teapot would have at least elevated me to Drama Queen status on a level that wasn't so petty, and maybe garnered some sympathy (of which I got none). Please tell me you're all just one piece of stretched-out elastic away from a hissy fit. And if you're not, lie.

I did not offer prayers of thanks when my friend took a huge step of acceptance and felt God's grace and (perhaps) His plan this week. Thank you all for praying with me.

Tea today: Earl Grey Green

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random Picture Challenge

Four Little Men and Girly Twins is sending out a random picture challenge - eighth picture for January. Mine is really bad on so many levels. From a cell phone, my car thermometer, traveling 65 mph (more or less) on a -40 degree wind chill day. But suffice to say I was up for the challenge! Title? Simply "Minus 21."

Tea today: Passion Fruit Na Pali (Hawaiian Islands Tea Company)

TSMSS: God of This City

Our praise team sang this at church a couple of weeks ago after a very powerful sermon and it's been replaying in my mind ever since. The words say it all. I swore I wouldn't miss Chris Tomlin if he ever came close to here for a concert, but sadly he'll be 45 miles away in a couple of weeks and I won't get to hear him :(
(Scroll down to turn off my playlist first!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spinning class

The Bladder Bell awakens me this morning, and as my weary down, cat, and dog-covered bones reach the floor I realize....the room is moving at warp speed and I'm not going anywhere any time soon.

Ugh. Labrynthitis. The word would usually conjure up wonderful thoughts, but the only thing it was conjuring up at that point was last night's dinner.

I've been here before. It blindsides you on a Friday morning for no reason at all, other than it can.

I send Ron Burgundy on a scavenger hunt to find me a meclizine, which I haven't needed in years. Which means it's probably out of date if he does find it. "Might be yellow, might be orange, look in the vitamin cupboard...." as my bed becomes my own personal tilt-a-whirl.

He returns with a handful of pharmaceutical unknowns that only a nurse would have on hand. And as I search his palm, the pills are spinning wildly like the vintage Asteroids game gone bad. But I know a meclizine when I see it and there was none to be seen.

Note to self: keep the stuff labeled next time.

He finds a blister pack deep in the cabinet with 3 left. I'm certain they were part of the Y2K preparation, but I take one anyway. Then a couple hours later, I take another. He brings me Naked Pomegranate Blueberry juice in my lame attempt to antioxidize the bugs away.

Second note to self: don't drink dark red juice when the room is moving.

He goes off to teach class. And I do the army crawl to get to the bathroom. There is no other way. Not without a head injury.

I doze off and on, and I take the last pill. The last old, outdated pill. I call the pharmacy to see if they have any OTC, but of course not (small town, small pharmacy). I call my doctor who in his sweet, infinite wisdom does not insist I make an office visit to get a prescription. He knows me. He does not like to be thrown up on. Stay away, Candy, stay far, far away.... He called in the prescription.

And within 45 minutes I have the real, full-strength stuff, doze off for an hour and a half, and awaken with the ceiling fan no longer flying across the room. It's actually still, like it's supposed to be in -40 degree weather.

I walk to the bathroom, using the wall as my guide.

Third note to self: busy wallpaper and labrynthitis do not make good company.

Second "real" dose, and within 30 minutes I'm a new woman. Not my best (read: bedhead, dog breath) but I can navigate to the kitchen, feed my puppy, grab a yogurt, and go back to bed with a great book.

God often tells us to be still, and sometimes we don't listen until WHUMP, he blindsides you on a Friday morning.

I got the message, thankyouverymuch.

Tea tonight: Green with pomegranate

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shaken Faith

I'd like to think that if when something horrible happens to me, my trust and faith will always remain Heavenward. In the few times in my life when I have felt emotionally distraught, perhaps even end-of-my-ropish, I can honestly say I never felt like my Father abandoned me. Others maybe, but not Him.

In difficult, testing times, I asked begged for His help. There may have been some "Why's and even a few "Why me's," but I never felt like He was leaving me to endure on my own.

Quite the opposite - I felt like He was at my side. And we talked. One of my readings today so aptly said "God has the ability to sustain us in the wilderness." Oh. Yeah.

My heart aches right now for a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been told "if you're going to have it, this is the kind to have," though she's also looking at surgery, chemo, and radiation in her future. Not good news, but not hopeless, either.

And she is a mess. A broken, distraught mess. She wonders where God is in all of this. She thought this was the last thing that could ever happen to her. She's asking "Why me?" She has lost control. (Dare I tell her she never had control)? The plan for her care is up in the air. And she feels no peace, or at least that's what she has articulated to those of us to whom she has confided.

She is lost. Utterly. Completely. Lost.

And that's what breaks my heart - not the cancer.

It seems to me she believes that cancer has a more treatment options than a shaken faith does. But the reality is, the cure for that lost faith is simple and right at our fingertips - at the foot of the cross, in His Word, ready to be placed in our hearts. Firmly. Radically. Sustainably.

So what is a friend to do? What are the words to say? Or must she work through this grief in her own way, her own time, with the little shaken faith she has left? We have talked about God's grace. About God's plans and purpose. About God's answers to our prayers.

Yes, No, Not Yet.

But she feels let-down and failed. Like her faith wasn't strong enough. She feels weak. Like she did something wrong. And now it's too late, in her eyes. Oh, how I long for her to find Him in all of this, rather than push Him away.

I understand well the steps in the grieving process and know that sometimes He brings us to our knees so that the only thing we can do is look up. I pray that her courage, strength, and faith will return with a vengeance to heal this broken heart. And the cancer? We will pray for that, too, knowing God's got her. He doesn't like cancer any more than the rest of us.

I've had many friends and family diagnosed with cancer; some are healed at Home, others are well and cancer-free and living life to the fullest, including my 83 year old mother. I never look at cancer as a surprise anymore - it has been all too common both in my family and in our society. I'm grateful and frankly amazed at the strides in cancer care over the last decade. The God-given wisdom of physicians, the loving care of nurses, the healing power of faith, food, and prayer, and the knowledge that abounds for all to know and use.

Please lift my friend up in prayer for faith, courage, and strength. Let's band together so she sees clearly that the Great Physician will heal her for eternity in spirit and body, and give her hope.

And lest this sound a bit righteous, and like I have it all together, I pray I don't eat my own words someday.

Tea today: Jasmine

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Blog is Fabulous? Seriously? Woo Hoo!

My friend Beth in NC has blessed me with the Fabulous Blog Award! Wow, this is a first! Stop on over to I AM HEADING TOWARDS MY DESTINY to see hers. She never disappoints!
I feel like I need to clean my blog because company will be coming! But alas, as a recipient, I am required to confess 5 things I am addicted to, then pass this award along to 5 other fabulous bloggers. While this is humbling for some of the previous winners, it will indeed show you how boring I am. But let it be known how honored I am! Thank you, Beth!

So let's get started - the 5 things I'm addicted to and can't live without (blogging is a given, so I can't fairly include it):

1. My red grapefruit every morning

2. Green tea

3. Acai juice (are we sensing a food theme yet?)

4. Crawling into a made bed. If it's unmade at bedtime (and it usually is - story for another post), I will make it before retiring for the night. Sometimes this requires evacuating Ron Burgundy.

5. Sermon podcasts. Thoroughly convicted by Pete Wilson's "Baggage" series. You will be too. Check. Him. Out.

I'm passing this most prestigious award on to some of my favorite bloggers!
  • Elaine, at Matters of the Heart (gives more "green things" on Facebook than I know what to do with and has precious children!)
  • Beth E at Outnumbered, Three to One (only woman I know who can get a teenage son to do ANYTHING!)
  • Stacy from Louisville (not like this babe needs more love, I'm just sayin'...)
  • The Mom Jen at Cheaper than Therapy (wow, and it really, really works!)
  • katdish at Hey Look, A Chicken! (I think she's really a daughter of mine in a former life, and I can hear my own daughter as she reads this...."Be afraid, be very afraid....")
Enjoy their blogs, and thanks again, Beth in NC!

Tea today: Hibiscus Honey Lemon Green (Hawaiian Islands Tea Company - thanks Lynn!)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kurt Warner: Not Just Any QB

So the Arizona Cardinals win last night. Woo hoo!

I'm not a big football fan. I'm not a big Cardinals fan. I've been to Arizona twice.

But I AM a big Kurt Warner fan.

Who wouldn't be?
He graduated from one of my alma maters (Go Panthers!)
He stocked shelves at my favorite grocery store where Chilean Sea bass is now $23.99/lb :(
He's a corn-fed Iowa boy.
He's married to a nurse (we nurses share unspoken bonds).
My favorite table at the OP is the one beneath his Rams Superbowl jersy.

And he's irrevocably commited to Jesus. Football does not define him. Read his book "All Things Possible." It will convince you. He is truly a man of God with undying devotion to his family. And it wasn't a simple, clean, easy road for him. Is it ever?

I don't care if you call me a groupie. Go Cardinals, Go Kurt, Rah Yeah God! (and not necessarily in that order).

(Photo taken in Cedar Falls at a fund raiser for the Red Cross after Kurt & St. Louis Rams 2000 Superbowl win - many hairstyles and lens changes ago! But Ron Burgundy never changes. How does that work??)

Tea today: Green with Lemon & Ginseng

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy

Back to earlier, simpler, peaceful years. My precious boy on the right, my BFF's precious boy on the left. Kute karate kids.

Tea Today: Zumi Monkey King

Sunday, January 4, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Head over to MckMama's to read more "Not me's!"

This was not the most doggoned weekend we've ever had around here. Well, it will be the most doggoned until's gone :( (Lucky, if you're reading this, we're in no hurry!! Now get back to your Doggyspace page!)

We did not stay up until 3 am Sunday sorting through and editing video of our DOG. All you bloggin' mama's out there, have pity on us empty-nesters (actually, we know you're envious...). We blog about DOGS! We could blog about kids, but seriously, we want you to be caught off guard like we were. And if when you come to cry on our shoulders, we'll be there for you.

In the same vein, I did not take my largest stockpot and 3 hours out of my day to make a huge batch of turkey vegetable soup FOR MY DOG as the sous chef of this doggy hospice we're running here. The vet said it was time to send him to the Bridge when he quits eating, so we're fixing him his last requests. He refuses to eat dog food. We are not sick of that 24 lb, 4 legged turkey from Christmas, anyway. (And we did not chuckle to ourselves that this just might be a bad joke and this home-cookin' will bring this dog around and the joke's on us).

I did not lose my Bible. My precious written-in-the-margins, marked-up, dog-earred Bible. I take it nowhere except church and home, so where, oh where can it be?? It's very difficult to keep up with my Bible in a Year online. I have others, but they just aren't the same.

That's not all - the entire week/weekend was devoted to canine home nursing and I'm exhausted. Now that we're back to a regular week, my post (perhaps) will be more interesting next Monday.

Happy New Year!
Tea tonight: Jasmine

Be Still Sunday


Tea today: Sencha

Saturday, January 3, 2009

TSMSS: God Will Make a Way

I can't say it better than Don Moen does. God will indeed make a way when there absolutely seems to be no other. (Scroll down and stop my playlist first).

Tea today: Young hyson

Friday, January 2, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Friday's almost over - can I squeeze in my Quick Takes, Jennifer? Click on over to Conversion Diary for my inspiration!

The process of dismantling the house after Christmas was a snap. Mainly because it was never "mantled" in the first place. A tree. Three stockings. And two other decorations. Voila. Now that was easy! Perhaps next year someone will remind me around December 1 that Christmas is coming, and it won't sneak up on me so fast.

And a two.
Have you ever thought out a great blog post, even down to picking out some really trendy and thought-provoking words, only to totally forget what you were going to post about? Yeah, me neither. Trust me, it was really good. Unfortunately it was about 3 am and the idea totally left me by the time I went back to sleep and woke up again. Perhaps, to dream....

And a three.
I shopped today for a "Mother of the Groom" dress. Ugh. Aaaarrggghhh.

Store lighting=washout.
Me in underwear in the mirror=frightening.

Yes, I have become my mother. Every dress I saw was befitting of an elderly, frumpy MOTG, which I refuse to be. The MOTB got a great dress. No panic yet, but about the middle of April I may be asking you to email me links to some possibilities in the inaugural "Blog 911 Fashion Emergency."

And a four.
Ron Burgundy and I have been digging through and organizing nearly 30 years of videos and burning DVDs to prepare something for the upcoming wedding, and to make a video tribute to Lucky when he goes to the Bridge. In the process we have seen darling children, dorky tweeners, rebellious teenagers, cocky young adults and every mood possible. We've seen horrible hair styles and clothes that would shame a clown. Earrings (on the boys) and hats (on the daughter). Tennis and track. Football and basketball. The most precious and heart wrenching of all? Probably the dog.

Never once did he say "Dad, shut that thing off!"

And a five.
Ahh, Friday night supper. Ron Burgundy insisted on HyVee deli meatloaf (gag, choke, spit). I preferred to have pistachio crusted scallops. I knew what was in my dinner because I fixed it. His was mystery meat. I win.

And a six.
My last haircut was in August. I'd like to say something noble like I'm saving for Locks of Love, but I'm sure they wouldn't take this many different shades of old highlights. I will get to the hairdresser next week if it kills me. I no longer have "getting ready for Christmas" as an excuse.

And a seven.
I'm really frustrated with my "Bible in a Year" project, and I'm only two months into it. I don't give up easily, and hope to continue plugging away, but I'm getting dazed and confused, not to mention many days behind. The Bible can do that to you. So today I ordered "The Story" so I can make a valiant attempt at better understanding of God's Word - "one seamless story from beginning to end." Pray for me, please? I really want to understand it in my head as much as I feel it in my heart.

Tea tonight: Harney & Sons Organic Green

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 In Review

This is a very lazy excuse for a 2008 wrap-up post. But my favorite second favorite newsguy, Uncle Jay, delivers the news of 2008 as only he can do. If I were to write a wrap up of my year, a tweet would suffice.

140 characters or less is pretty much me.

And my background reminds me of the old Blackjack candy.

(Wow, that was random!)

Tea today: Tazo Zen