Cut potatoes to large dice. Chop onions in big chunks so you can really taste their lovely sweet flavor they take on in the oven. Peel garlic and either slice or leave whole. Pull needles from rosemary sprigs by holding the top of the sprig with one hand and pulling all the sprigs down with the other. Toss in a large bowl with olive oil until coated. Now, I don't measure too much, so I'm gonna take a guess and say 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper. Oh and I like kosher salt. Yum! Anyway, toss with potatoes until evenly coated, and heck, add a little more if you want. ;)
Brown in skillet, cast iron is my favorite, until potatoes take on a nice golden color. Then pop in preheated oven (400) for 20 minutes or so, until potatoes are crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside.
Family. What a strange concept, huh? People we spend the most time with, that we love and care about the most, or are "supposed" to, yet somehow end up always being the ones we hurt or who hurt us the most.
It's hard to understand.
I have family issues. SURPRISE! ;)
I have extended family that are very lost. Confused. Wandering. In many ways. Hubby and I have tried countless times to help, to support. What ends up happening is we are turned on. Lies have been told, family relationships severed. It breaks my heart. I have tried everything, talking until I'm blue in the face, kind gestures and words, giving it time, apologizing for anything I can think of. Nothing has worked. My kids ask me about this person, where is he? I thought we had an Uncle too?
And then there's my sister. She is suffering from some pretty serious health issues, unemployed, with no car or driver's license, living with her boyfriend who "can't afford her," and wants her to leave. She's so in love that she is willing to stay in a state where she has no family and little support to try to make it work. I know she is letting her heart lead, but it kills me. I want her closer, I want to be able to help her. We've offered for her to stay with us and help her get things sorted out and get her on her feet. She just won't leave until there's no chance left with her current situation. I understand love, I do, I know that she feels like he's her whole world and how can she walk away from that?
But I also know just a tiny bit more about a couple things. I know that living there is making her health condition worse. She is constantly stressed which aggravates things. I know, well I guess I don't know, but I think that if he truly "loved" her and wanted to marry her (what she's told me) that he'd be more willing to help her work it out. I can see her heart being shattered and I just don't want to.
I have learned my lesson before with my sister, she's not one that I can speak my mind bluntly with. If she disagrees, she takes it as a personal attack and gets very angry and emotional. So, rather than telling her that I think she needs to end it now and move on, I've just been asking questions. Partly with the intent of opening her eyes, partly hoping that she'll have a great answer that I hadn't expected and that I'll be wrong. Well, the last time I talked to her and asked her questions, she lost it. Completely blew up, started crying, and hung up on me. Awesome. =
I called back but she had plans and was busy, so I text her and told her that I love her more than she knows and that I just don't want her to get hurt. I told her I will always be here, when no one else is. I asked her to call me when she had time. Nothing.
I'm overwhelmed. I'm frustrated. I'm sad and disappointed.
My parents live pretty far away.
My in-laws are not in the greatest health.
I want that big, happy family. The one that meets on the holidays and roasts marshmallows long into the evening. I want long conversations, phone calls to my kids. I want my kids to beg to see their Auntie and Uncle, I want them to get special dates with them, to have a relationship with them that will last a lifetime. I want cousin sleepovers and big family dinners.
What kills me the most though, is that the feeling is just not mutual. At least not at this time. My kids don't have Aunts and Uncles who want to be a part of their lives. And there's nothing I can do to change it.
How can one thing be a source of such great joy and yet, so much pain?
Veggie sticks and hummus. Watching children sharing: snacks, toys, games. Nap time for children. Breath to live, to praise. Chubby fingers, pointing. A toddler's honesty. A child's curiosity. My oven, always heating, cooking, baking, warm meals for family. Sister to love. Potty-trained toddler.
I had the honor of hosting a baby shower for my friend, Raeanne a little while back. Her hubby is a firefighter and she is doing the baby's room in a firefighter theme, so I worked around that mostly. Thank you also to Jess, who helped me host the shower. :)
I decided to focus more on colors, staying away from the traditional boy baby shower look. I chose red, black and white with gray and yellow here and there. I wanted to have a little bit of a rustic feel and I used firetrucks and themed phrases to pull in the firefighter theme.
We had "smoked" chicken pasta for lunch with salad, bread, and fruit. Raeanne is obsessed with lemon, so I made lemon cupcakes using a recipe I found from the Brown-eyed Baker. They were to die for and I've made them many times since! haha Check out her site, she has some incredible recipes. I made the invitations to set the tone for the theme and color scheme of the party. I think that invitations are one of the most important parts of a party. I used white cloth napkins for the silverware rolls and tied them with leftover fabric from other crafts I did for the shower. I used great black, white and gray plates that I had been stocking up on all summer. I'm so excited because I found them at Target and will be able to use them for all parties now! Bye Bye paper plates and napkins!
We had water, ice tea and a mommy's mocktail for beverages. And about the food was a good old fashioned clothesline with all firefighter themed clothing. I made a couple of rag garlands for decoration and hung up little baby booties in the center of one swag. And everyone went home with homemade "fire-roasted" salsa for their favors. I used the same coordinating fabrics in the garland, the salsa jar tops, the table centerpieces and the napkin rolls.
Naturally, I made a diaper wreath in coordinating colors and with firetruck socks, etc. I had wildflowers in red, orange and yellow in different size mason jars all over and in groups of three on the tables along with a vintage looking firetruck with each grouping.
We played just one game because the ladies seemed to be having such a fun time talking with each other. We played a game with red hots. Appropriate, much?
We also had a canvas sign in board for people to leave best wishes for their family next to an ultrasound picture and I tried my hand at making a collage on mat board with her maternity pictures. Which, by the way, you should not look at if you tend to have a jealous streak. They turned out fabulous and Jim and Raeanne make a mighty handsome couple. ;)
Raeanne was so spoiled and got countless beautiful gifts. It was a lovely afternoon and I was honored to be able to host her shower. I hope she and everyone else enjoyed themselves!
Oh and Wesley James made his entrance ON his due date which just so happened to be Jim and Raeanne's one year wedding anniversary! She didn't plan that one out very well. ;-) He was a healthy 9 pounds 4 ounces with beautiful blond hair and blue eyes. Congratulations guys!
Each invitation had this tag hanging on it with registry info stamped on one side and a note about a diaper raffle stamped on the other.
I wrote this story last year on my family blog, but thought I'd post it again for those that didn't read it.
When my mom was younger she went to a psychic with friends, not intending to get anything out of it, just messing around with friends. The psychic told my mother she'd have two daughters, one would be hard headed and stubborn, learning everything the hard way. And one would marry young and never want or need for anything and would wear pearls around her neck. Well, my mother doesn't believe too much of that stuff and I'm not big on it either. But it's hard to forget sometimes what that woman told my mom and how things have played out. If you know or have heard much about my sister, you know which daughter she is. Hard headed and stubborn is an understatement and I think she owns property on the Hard Way Highway.
Love to you sister...xoxo
The other daughter (yours truly) was always a bit more difficult to figure out.
My mom always thought it meant that I was to end up with a wealthy man and live a life of luxury.
Not quite. :)
One time Kenny and I took a trip to Las Vegas. We were shopping and decided to pick our own oyster at the Pearl Factory. Everyone was getting a pearl, cute little white ones and every once in a while someone would get really excited because they got one with a faint blush to it. Well we got ours and opened it up and the employee, Kenny and myself all gasped in unison. In this oyster was the most beautiful, almost black with a tiny hue of green, peacock pearl.
It was stunning.
We picked out an equally gorgeous, simple, but unique necklace setting and I walked away with a pearl around my neck.
That was almost five years ago and I think I took the necklace off three times.
I have always loved this necklace because the sentiment and unique simplicity of it was just incredible.
And then, about a year ago, I thought about what that psychic said so many years ago.
And here I am, by no means monetarily wealthy, but I want for nothing. I have everything I need and more. I married young and am incredibly happy in my marriage.
And I wear a pearl around my neck.
Well, the most recent time I took off my necklace was when my friend Jessica gave me a mother's necklace as a thank you gift. It's the ridiculously adorable mama bird necklace from Vintage Pearl. Anyway, I LOVED it and have been wanting a mother's necklace to alternate with my black pearl necklace. So swoon I did and I swapped them right then and there. I slipped my other necklace into the jewelry pouch that the new one came in and put it back in the gift bag. Thank you Jess, again! xoxo
I wore the momma bird necklace for a few days and then had an engagement party to go to and wanted to wear my other necklace. I still had not taken it out of the jewelry pouch to put it in my jewelry box, so I went to where I had left the gift bag. Huh. It wasn't there. I didn't have time to look so I made a mental note to ask Kenny later. Perhaps he had moved the bag so that the kids wouldn't get into it.
A couple days later I remembered to ask Kenny.
"Hey honey, did you see that brown gift bag by my nightstand?"
"I think I remember seeing it, did you lose it?" he responds, somewhat defensively.
"I think I did, I don't remember moving it."
"Was it important? Wasn't it an empty bag?"
"Uhh, yeah. It was kinda important. No, it wasn't empty."
"What was in it?"
"WHAT?! Why was your necklace in a trash bag?"
At this point I explained what happened and he was acting really upset, almost angry. I couldn't believe that he was getting so heated about MY necklace. He went downstairs to look in the trash. I KNEW I didn't throw the bag away and thought I would have noticed it in the trash if the kids had tossed it.
I started just cleaning and going through everything in every room, just in case. Of course by this point I was an emotional mess and crying wondering why I had to be so disorganized and dumb! Kenny came back in and said he had no luck. He hugged me and responded exactly the way I had originally thought he would. He said we'd buy a new necklace and that it wasn't my fault.
I said I didn't want a new necklace
(looking back now, I shouldn't have said that, I definitely should have played that card..heehee)
and that it was my fault. It was my fault for not putting it away where it belonged right away.
Kenny looked down a bit sheepishly and said "It's my fault. I remember throwing the bag away. It was just a plain brown bag, so I thought it was trash."
Note to self: Men don't realize that rustic, crafty, vintage, simple things can be things that we would buy and use to wrap gifts. Unless it's a metallic purple bag with cellophane balloons and multi -color tissue paper, it looks like a trash bag to him. Grr...
I wasn't mad at him at all, it was just a silly mistake.
I did ask him where the dump was and if it would be worth trying out some dumpster diving.
Then I imagined that.
I decided against it.
So that's the end of my peacock pearl necklace.
I was really bummed, but I'm okay now.
And I really love the necklace I lost it for. The mama bird necklace. The mama bird has three little white pearls for her babies.
So I'm still fulfilling my future as told by the psychic.
I'm still happily married, want for nothing and wear (three) pearls around my neck. :)
I wake to baby crying. I change him and wrap him warm in a blanket, rocking in the dark.
He opens his mouth and yawns big. He settles his head on my shoulder, soothed by my warmth and the calmness. I think that in just an hour or so, the serenity of the night, of the early morning, will be swept away and the bustle of day will take its place. The sun will come and spread its light, people will begin their jobs, activities, chores.
I rock, quiet in the chair, holding my youngest child close.
I soak up the peace of the night and the warmth of my baby.
A candle, forgotten the night before, flickers its warm and gentle glow across the walls.
Baby grows heavy. I take him to his bed, lay him down and tuck the soft blankets close. He looks into my eyes before they flutter and give way to sleep.
I return to my own warm bed, climb under my blankets and get the pillow just right. I close my eyes, eager to snatch up that one more hour before the day begins.
A song pops into my head.
"In the morning, when I rise.
In the morning, when I rise.
In the morning, when I rise,
Give me Jesus...
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus."
I shoo the song away.
"Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus."
It will not go away.
I don't want it to.
I lay there, eyes wide open.
I am not tired.
I am joyful.
I am thankful.
I rise and go downstairs.
Soak up the serene.
Thank Him for these few moments to be with Him.
To take in His glory.
To ponder on His words.
To start my day with thoughts of Him.
Thank Him for speaking to me so clearly this morning.
Great question! What makes me think that there are people out there who really care or want to read about me and what I have to say or think about things? Do I really think I'm that interesting? Not really, but apparently I am to a couple people. ; )
For me, blogging started mostly as a place for me to dump my thoughts and things that I have learned, share what God shows me and tells me, work through my personal issues and battles. It was about sharing my life, my experiences, whatever I can share that could be of some use to other people. I've always said if just one person could find something useful, inspiring, thought-provoking or just plain entertaining, then my blog has served its purpose. It started to gradually turn into more of a family journal, but I felt burdened by it. It felt cumbersome and less meaningful. I started to get freaked out about safety issues with readers, hearing stories and having a lot of friends make their blogs private, I decided to make mine private too. Then I made Triple Scoop, so that I could still blog publicly and keep my family private. Happy medium?
I love to write and I believe that this is a resource that God has given me to reach people, to share Him. To share what He's given me and hopefully be a little glimpse into His light.
Recently a reader emailed me and said that they were not only entertained and inspired by my stories, but also felt ministered to. They said that they felt like they knew me, but only parts of me. It really got me thinking and wondering. I am a strong believer in authenticity, living your life honestly and in my blog, I try to be as open and true to myself as possible. Well lately I've been struggling with that and feeling like I am not, like something is missing.
I keep having this weight on my heart and feel like God keeps telling me that my blog is my mission field right now, perhaps a calling for right now, besides of course my family and community. He can use me, my blog and my family for His purpose. And I feel like I just keep hearing Him telling me that He will keep us safe.
I just don't know which way to go. I feel annoyed with tip toeing around my own blog, not knowing how much is too much to share, worrying, being fearful. But then I don't want to be irresponsible with my family's safety. I wonder, do I just go out and blindly trust in Him, or if I do that am I ignoring the tools He has given me to keep my family safe?
So my question is this: What are all YOUR thoughts on private vs open permission blogs?
And I made edible cupcake toppers. I was so proud of them until hubby thought they were dinosaur feet. They were rockets. My first attempt at rockets. Not dinosaur feet. But if anyone is throwing a dinosaur themed party anytime soon, I do believe I could whip up a mean dinosaur foot. ; )
So fun, huh??
Remember when I mentioned that I was working on something big and fun and scrumptious?
Well these lovely ladies are working on it with me. Hint Hint.
Disasters. They seem to be everywhere. Our hearts are heavy with sadness for our fellow humankind. Those suffering. In Japan, Haiti, Chile, even in our own country and others spanning the entire globe. Eyes fill with hot tears as we watch the news. Earthquakes, super storms, fires, floods. Layoffs, homelessness, empty tummies, suicide. Lost and hurt children, corrupt leaders, hateful violence.
So we lace up our boots and get ready. Prepare ourselves and our family for the impending disaster poised to strike at any moment. We search and search fervently for signs, clues any expert's opinion to give us a slight nod towards when and where, even what, we are preparing for. Our attics, basements, garages become filled with canned goods, water, batteries, flashlights, blankets and other survival needs.
And then we wait. Our fingernails chewed down to the flesh in nervous anticipation.
Lately this subject of disaster preparedness has consumed a huge majority of the conversations I find myself involved in. Some people I talk to are incredibly prepared, and amazingly, still diligently working on lists of further preparations. Some people are not prepared at all, but deeply troubled at the thought. Some seem they could care less.
Just a few days ago I was talking with a few people about this very subject and suddenly felt so very burdened. I was not burdened that my food storage was not up to par or that my documents hadn't been backed up on disc and placed in my fireproof safe. I was burdened for people. Christ kept laying the same thing on my heart, over and over, pleading with me to share. So here I am, sharing.
If you step back and look around, and quietly watch and listen, you will see people all around you, scrambling.
They are nervous.
They are anxious.
They are fearful.
We are desperately trying to prepare ourselves and our families for survival of physical disasters.
But what about our souls?
Are we ready spiritually?
Have we been as fervent with our soul preparedness as our physical?
Have we made lists of things we can do and read to align our hearts and minds with His?
Have we talked with our children enough, given them the love and guidance from above to prepare their souls?
Have we shared with our friends and family who may not be prepared for what is to come?
Are their souls as heavy on our hearts as their physical survival of a natural disaster?
What about a spiritual disaster?
It makes me think of Job. I'm sure he had no idea of Satan's plan to come in and sabotage his relationship with Jesus. I'm sure when he was put through countless trials and tests it was nothing short of a disaster. But he was ready. He had spent the time and done the work to prepare his soul.
How incredibly sad that so many people are running around, frantic, waiting for the next big one, fearful of what tomorrow holds.
"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
God has given us hope and faith and the power to overcome the numerous trials and disasters that will come our way. We are His very precious children and He WILL take care of us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He has plans for us that are GOOD! When we are faced with a scary tomorrow and we find ourselves anxious and fearful, it is not of God. Fear comes from doubt, and doubt is one of the enemy's strongest tools. We must remain steadfast and confident in God's promises. After all, he looks after the tiny sparrow, can He not look after us, His own children?
My favorite Bible verse is Exodus 14:14. It says "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."
All we need to do is be still and know that He is God and He is in control.
He loves us.
He has GOOD plans for us.
He gives us a spirit of love, power and peace.
He is here, waiting for us to trust Him.
So my heart does break for those that are hurting and suffering. And I do think it is wise to be prepared for natural disasters. However, I believe that it is more urgent and more important to prepare our souls. And to share His love and Word with the souls around us. If we have more assurance, knowing what would happen to us and our loved ones if we were to die in the next "big one," perhaps we'd be less anxious, less fearful. We would not fear death, because we would know that Christ has already triumphed over death and it does not mean the end of life, but rather the beginning of eternity. And we'd still have our fingernails. ; )
See, you create a soft cuddly little human out of love for another person.
You invite them into your home, give them everything and love them unconditionally. Then one day you come up with the bright idea of a playmate. Apparently at this point you have not yet been introduced to play DATES, where you go play and then come home with just your one human and everything is still peaceful and quiet. No, that's either not an option or not good enough.
You decided that your little human needs another little human.
Someone to grow up with, share laughs and clothes with, someone to protect and love, someone to bond with. Sounds like an inspirational song right about now and you do the deed.
Pretty soon you're welcoming your second little human and taking those priceless pictures of introducing siblings in the hospital. People are gawking about how sweet they are and how they have the same nose. You are writing birth announcements and blogs about how human number one just instinctively loves the new little human and is just so kind and gentle with them.
That lasts about four and half minutes.
Well it lasts a tiny bit longer, but it feels like only four and half minutes.
And then you're googling how to foster sibling love and sharing.
You're begging for advice from friends and buying multiple identical items to try and keep the peace.
You've built barricades in the hallway between their rooms and are considering adding that plexiglass shield that cop cars have to the swagger wagon so you don't crash the wagon during a completely
And then, if you're a slow learner like I am, you decided to go ahead and do it again.
Human number three.
Oh. Em. Gee.
Yes, that is exactly how I imagine hell.
To help teach my kids compassion towards one another and show them how their actions can hurt each other, I've started telling the offender to ask the offended how he/she can make them feel better.
The offended often times requests a singing sorry-gram or a prayer or a turn with a favorite toy. It actually does work really well most times and smooths over the moment.
Well one night, I was the offended. My kids were both being so grumpy and yelled at me when I asked them to do something. I must have genuinely had a look of hurt on my face because they both started looking very concerned and asked what was wrong.
I told them I did not want to talk to them when they were being so mean.
They talked to each other and then both said sorry.
I wasn't quite ready to let it go so I thanked them for their apology but said I still had hurt feelings and didn't want to talk to them.
Then they break out in the most out of tune, off pitch, unsychronized,
version of Twinkle Twinkle I have
I tried to resist.
I looked the other way.
I bit my bottom lip.
And then...I melted.
I turned and watched them sing the rest of the song to me with their big goofy grins and looking at each other to try to stay together. When they finished singing they asked me if I felt better because they sang me that song to make me feel better.
And then Son offered me the last soggy bite of his graham cracker and
Daughter said I could sleep with her Barbie.
Thanks guys. I feel much better.
No thanks on the cracker though, Son.
You go ahead and finish it.
Daughter, I'll get back to you about the Barbie. ;)
The lyrics to this song have really been speaking to me this week, or rather God is speaking to me through them. I often find myself praying that He would help me to see things through His eyes rather than my own, but now I am pleading that He would change my heart, mold it. I want my heart to break for the things that break His. Everything I have for YOUR kingdom, Lord. Help me have selfless faith.