Give Me Some Sugar

I have been off caffeine since June.  It was, and is, worth it.  I knew the next big hurdle would be sugar.  In late January and early February, I took a stab at quitting.  Right before Valentine’s Day.  That was just careless.

It stayed in front of me.  I knew I still needed to do it.  I know this sounds strange to say, but it seemed there was no jumping off point.  Then, there was.

Lent.

The Lenten Fast.

BOOM!

I quit sweets.  Not all the foods that have any ingredient that’s just sugar with a cute name.  Just sweets.

It only took a few days to come face to face with my need of a Savior.  I felt desperate.  I lied about what I ate.  (They don’t care, and Jesus already knows.)  I cheated like a card sharp in the old west.  I let myself slip.  A lot.

I realized I felt I couldn’t live without sugar (People do.  It isn’t air.).  Then I realized there are a lot of things I can’t live without

And.

There are a lot of things I have been saying I can live without…that I can’t.

BOOM.

Yes, I have a lot of idols.  (Anything you feel you can’t live without.)  I’m also holding myself prisoner in a lot of ways, too.  Depriving myself of things God says are good. Going hungry at my Father’s table.  Thirsty, at the source of Living Water.

Who do I think I am?

Imagine you provide delicious food for your child and she sits in the chair and feels the hunger pains and doesn’t eat.

How does that make you feel?

Really freaking sad. Right?

You love her and you want her to be healthy and you want her to enjoy the things that you provide with just her in mind.

That may be confusing, but I’m not talking about the sugar anymore.

I’m talking about seeing my need of a Savior.

Seeing how much the Father loves me.

About nothing I could have anticipated or imagined.

 

~disclaimer:  I’m uncomfortable writing while in the middle because I’m not sure that you’re supposed to talk about the things you do spiritually.  But I felt led for some reason today.  And Lent is not in the Bible.  It’s a church observance.  So… Please forgive my continued clumsiness, in any case.~

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Have to Change Your Mind

This is different, but at least it will be unpopular.

You don’t have to change your mind.

Instead of shifting your attention from one thing to another like a raccoon with a hatful of shiny objects:

STOP THINKING YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN OBSESSION ALL THE TIME.

That’s right. I said it.

Instead of committing your life to something because the cool kids ‘like’ its page on Flackbook; why not sit quietly sometimes and think about important ideas? Have a conversation about something besides carnal pleasures.  [Don’t get mad because I used the word ‘carnal‘ properly.  The word means “related to the needs of the physical, temporal; rather than the spiritual”.]

You know what I mean…

“I need a latte.”  The hell heck you do.  Have a cup of strong, black Folger’s.

“Your HAIR! What are you using on it?”  Shampoo.

“Have you seen the new [shirtless hairless effeminate male pin-up] movie?”  Why?  So we can argue about whether, evil or soft-smooth-hands-that-have-never-done-a-day’s-work are more attractive?

“I LOVE [fried chicken sandwiches].  They are AMAZING!”  They are poison.  Whether the founder attends church or not.

“Should I get [another] tattoo?”  No, start chain smoking.  Dumbass.

Put down the game controller.

And the freaking phone.

Your mind is starving to death.  If you think [chocolate milk with a shot of coffee] is amazing, your life is too darn small.  If you are amazed by that, it’s because so few really great things have crossed your consciousness.  Amazing isn’t a synonym for pleasant.

You don’t need to be obsessed with something.

All the time.

It’s okay to be interested in a variety of things.

You don’t have to be “passionate about something” or “have a passion for” it.

You can just do your thing.

Read good books.  Eat what’s served.  Go interesting places.  Have hobbies.  Try new things.  Like them or don’t.

Do your best in high school.

If your parents are letting you pick your path, find some post-secondary training of some kind.

Get a job.  Don’t be idle.  There is honor in work.  Whether it is the paycheck kind or the building the family blessing kind.

You can do any kind of work.  You don’t have to get famous for it.

It’s only bacon.  Bring it home.

I think you should work just a little bit more than you play.  Believe me or don’t, but if you haven’t worn yourself out with work, you will not enjoy the play as much as you would if you did.

Just live.

The passion of Christ, refers to his journey to the cross to be poured out as an offering for us.  His commitment to do what His Father desired.

Are you ready for that definition of passion?

Good.  Because Jesus, too, did a regular job, hung out with his family, attended worship regularly, and obeyed the law of the land.  He’d never heard of [chocolate milk with a shot of coffee] or [fried chicken sandwiches].

The passion will find you.  Though it will not know where to look, if you are always running from one silly, trivial, shiny thing to another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Summer We Lived with Grandma

She lived 25 miles from where my mom worked, and gasoline was up to $.60.

Shut up.

It was the Bi-centennial.

Grandpa had retired from the oil field and they’d expanded the garden.  Because there were more people there to help work it.

They had these two old apricot trees.  They’d been there for twenty years. Never blossomed.  Never put on fruit.  Until this year. They made up for all the years of disappointment.

For their anniversary, grandpa had made Grandma a swing.  Like a porch swing, only it sat out in the back under the mimosa tree.

The days were long and hot. In Oklahoma, the wind blows continually, not in gusts, but relentlessly.  My hair was continually blowing everywhere.  So mom kept it short.

She would leave for work early in the morning.  And I would take all Grandma’s berry baskets (collected since the great depression) and go drop on the ground beneath the apricot trees.  I would fill the baskets and take them in.  Grandma washed the apricots and returned the baskets to me.  At the peak of the crop, I could fill them up to six times per day.  Grandma added this to her full time work with the garden.

They also grew zucchini bigger than my leg from the knee down.  And green beans.  There were, of course, tomatoes and peppers.  These grandparents didn’t grow corn(the others fought the good fight for ‘roasting ears’.).  But that’s about all they didn’t grow.  I was never thorough enough to suit anybody as a green bean harvester.  Which was just as well, as my work made it possible to add apricots to the harvest.

It was not without a good deal of noise, that I did my work.  I cried at the injustice and mistreatment. And my wishing for rain gave me the opportunity to wish for the sun to come out.  It was more pleasant to pick up the apricots from the dry ground than to kneel in the mud.

Grandma didn’t love to turn the air conditioner on.  She saw it as needless waste.  Not one living person supported her in this.  Oh, in April, we all agreed.  You shouldn’t need it in April.  But in mid-July?  There were no prizes for being the last one to close the windows and turn it on.

She had her swing.  She worked like a maniac in the blazing sun or the stifling kitchen all day.  When the dinner dishes were back in the cabinet, she’d get a cold drink and her cigarettes, and go outside and sit in the swing with the sun at her back. Under the mimosas, she’d smoke and watch the hummingbirds come to the mimosa blossoms.  Mom would sit with her, too.  She’d put in a day at the medical office, come home and change and join Grandma in harvesting and canning the green beans.

By the time the weather cooled in the fall, I couldn’t eat apricots anymore.  I wasn’t filing it in the ‘great moments of my life’ file. But now, I think about my equal role in the work.  I didn’t sit around nagging about the two activities I was willing to think of as fun.  A lot of hard work made me grateful as a Pilgrim for time to read or write or play or watch tv.

I think I’ll move that summer from the “Argh” file to the “Good stuff” file.

 

 

 

Let’s Salsa!

Thursday, last week, we had to be across town and our route took us past the roadside stand where I like to get peaches as often as possible.  Yay.

In addition to peaches, she had a basket of “salsa tomatoes”, meaning tomatoes that were a little too ripe for slicing or salads.

We picked up some of each and on Saturday, while Mickey was at his volleyball tournament, we waded into a totally new experience.  We canned our own homemade salsa.  I used this recipe. And used the links in the post to get the canning information.

First, I threw dinner in the slow cooker. Swiss Chicken.

This photo is a nosehole bad friend and won’t stay right side up.

Then I made some sun tea with a raspberry herbal bag thrown in.

As if I do anything all natural anymore.

To peel, dip tomato in boiling water for 15 seconds.

Then into ice water.

The skin will pull right off. This is fun.

Everyone wants to help.

We chopped onions and green & jalapeno peppers.

Mixed spices.

This child feels that, if she stirred; she is is the one who claims the glory.

Looks like a fiesta already.

And she stirs…. cook for 20 minutes after it reaches a boil.

2 quarts, 4 pints.

 

We’ve never canned before, but we used only jars, rings and lids we had around the house.  That’s why it was economical for Grandma.

It came out good, but spicier than I was expecting.  About half the tomatoes were orange, causing the color to be exactly the color of a tomato sauce stain on your new white Ann Taylor t-shirt.  I substituted lime juice for the vinegar in the recipe and added cilantro.

There are no pics of the canning portion because my help clocked out.  There was porch-sitting to be attended to.

Have you ever canned?  I was surprised how easy it was.  What are your favorite things to save for winter by canning, freezing or drying?

I am linking this post to Wordful Wednesday at Parenting by Dummies.

Fifty Shades of… Cake?

Um, yeah.  I won’t be reading those books.  Let’s just say, that I’d bet dollars to donuts that none of the characters in the steamy little series is the least little bit like me or like I want to be.

However.

There’s this cake recipe that the midwestern church ladies make.  They don’t say the name in mixed comp’ny.   When they do say it, they blush and giggle.

It’s called…Better-Than-Sex-Cake.

There are actually two cakes I’ve been offered under this name.  One has Cool Whip and crushed pineapple.  The other is chocolate.

I’ve had sex and I’ve had cake.  I can only conclude that the poor old gal who named this cake hadn’t.  Or what she’d been offered had been a product of the least possible competence and effort.

Cake!  I’m talking about cake.

So the reason I bring this up is I’ve been thinking lately that since the vittles around here have improved mightily in the last 2 months, there are a few foods that I consider BetterThanBetterThanSexCake.  I probably should add a disclaimer than I don’t typically choose cake if cookies or cinnamon rolls are available.  And I don’t compare desserts with…

Never. Mind.

THE ACCIDENTAL GUIDE TO FOODS THAT ARE BETTER THAN CAKE.

1) Hamburgers. Grilled at home over charcoal. You know I’m right.

2) Bacon. We still have several pounds.  This isn’t number one, because there is just a freaking limit.

3) Fried rice.  When I am making ordering it, I think, “Ah. Whatever.  I guess rice.”  When I taste it, I am all like,”Dang, that is just good!!!”

4) Peach Pie. From. Scratch.

5) Tea. Unsweet, Iced, Withlemononasunnydayridingaroundwiththewindowsdownandnochildreninthecar.

6) Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls. Believe the hype.

7) My Spaghetti Sauce.  Over angel hair pasta.

8) Real Homemade Mashed Potatoes.

9) Oatmeal Cookies.  Great-grandma’s recipe.

10) Taco Salad.  My recipe at home.

I am still pro-cake and pro-sex.  I am, however, anti-allowing-virgins-to-name-desserts.

photo: food network

What sounds good tonight?

It’s Monday and I am SOOO MissElaineous!

 

 

Today’s Burning Question

Yesterday, while I was getting ready for the day, I saw an old Martha Stewart magazine on the shelf.  One would not guess by looking at my home, but I went through a short-lived obsession with her, in about 2005, at the height of her over-exposure.  Back to the magazine on the shelf.  I grabbed it and thumbed through.  I thought, “Wait a minute.  Is she the most brilliant living American?”

mindbodygreen.com

Since WWII, advertising has sold us everything from automobiles to household appliances with ease, convenience and time-savings as the buzzword. “Less work for me?  It must be good. Let me pay you more than it would cost to do it myself.”

But wait.  Where was our attention when Martha snuck up and built an empire off selling American women (mostly) “Doing It the Hard Way and Paying More For It”?

My grandma ran a tasteful home where people wanted to be.  She grew her vegetables and her beef.  It was considered turncoat to eat chicken.  She did her tasteful home decor herself.  She preserved food for the future.  She cooked and hosted and considered it an achievement to have more people than last year.  She passed along those skills to her daughter, my aunt. I sneaked them when no one was watching.

Martha’s way is always harder and more expensive than Grandma’s way. Grandma’s way makes my people feel loved in a way that Martha’s way couldn’t.  Grandma’s way is free; every time I do it Martha’s way, she gets a cut.

Is homemaking (or keeping) a lost art?  Does a generation who may have come up without seeing Thanksgiving dinner made (or the sheets changed) need someone impart to them skills that used to be handed down in the family?

money.cnn.com

Or is she just selling back to us what used to belong to us by rights?

Who taught you to take care of your home?  Mom?  Aunt?  Grandmother?  Dad?

What is your cleverest homekeeping trick?

I Won, I Won, I Won.

WOW is my face red.  I have lost the key to the trophy case, because it has been something like a year since I have won anything blog related.  So.  In the interest of credit where it is due…


Several weeks ago, I entered the I Heart Faces Photoshop Makeover Giveaway.  There were a number of sites to sign up on and I won at Tator Tots and Jell-o. The prize was that you send one photo of yourself to Amy and she would do a photoshop makeover of your mugshot and make you look moviestar.  I won.  I did. She did.

As a result, you may begin to see a whole new me popping up.  I am very thankful both to Amy and Jennifer.  They were just doing their thing, and had no idea what a difference this would make in the way I see myself.  Thanks, Ladies.

Additionally, I have also to thank Jennifer@Always in Wonder for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award.

I have been slow on saying thank you and getting this sleek button up in the sidebar.  Thanks, Jennifer, and my apologies for my slowness!!!  As you are stopping by AIW, don’t miss the Egg Yolk Facial.
This is one of those fun, friendly pass along awards that some pass along and some don’t.  Here is the way it works:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers. (I am not sure I have 15, but I will try to come up with a fistful.)
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Here are my 7 things, in no particular order.
1. I can’t have Lucky Charms Cereal in my house.  I will eat it all.  I won’t share with my children.  I won’t be nice.  I can’t imagine what might happen if I got ahold of a harder drug.  Just writing this makes me want to run to the grocery store.  The small box is currently on sale for $2.18.
2. I prefer reality TV and sitcoms to”drama”.  Reality TV is criticized because it usually isn’t a reality situation. In my reality, I have to rely on my own real life attitude, behavior, and character.  On reality TV, it is ALWAYS a test of the participants real life coping skills. How low will they go?
3. My children are adopted. It is no piece of cake, but I dig it.  I recommend it.
4. I think God does mini-miracles, because He wants to keep our undivided attention.  For example, I left a comment on Parenting By Dummies about my shopping friend being half a continent away, and a day or two later found out she is moving to a nearby city that has better shopping.  No biggie.  I just wish I had mentioned it sooner.

5. I don’t have a freebie list because that is wrong and Mark Wahlberg is not on it.
6. I love to read.
7. My family thinks I am a good cook.

If there were an eighth, I would have to say that I discovered blogging just a little more than a year ago, and have a great time getting to know people that way.  Here are my bloggers that I would give the award to.

Little Bit Quirky
Grown Up For Real
Whimsy
Super Mom Blues

These are my newest favorites, of course there is always In the Mommy Trenches, but she is having her SITS day today.  I don’t want there to be any confusion.

Thanks again ladies; I’m for the grocery store.



Durn It, Ree.

Nine years ago, I was in an email discussion with an online friend with whom I shared an fascination with the tough gals of the old west, who did the same job we did, without the benefit of indoor plumbing and electricity, to say nothing of telephone and television.  Which is how I found myself searching for photos of the Pioneer Woman Statue in Ponca City, OK.

The second or third result yielded a “blog” (whatever that was) of a gal who had moved from the big city to the “isolated” country somewhere.  I rolled my eyes, thought,”kwitcherbitchin'”, and moved on to locate the object of my search.  The “real” Pioneer Woman.

I didn’t tell anyone about it.  Didn’t read all that much of it and didn’t think of it again until last Saturday, when I got my birthday present.

Shut up.

I have always been the girl who bucked the trend.  If someone said, “You have to…”  I would say in my snotty little heart, “Do I?”  I still haven’t seen the movie, Titanic.

So I get way down in the middle of memorizing every word reading my shiny new cookbook, and she tells about the day a few years ago when she started her blog.  Oh.  That Pioneer Woman.

Shut up.

Ree Drummond got the life I wanted.  Ranch, cowboy, basset hound ( I don’t want hers; I want my own.). I am from Oklahoma and I knew I wanted the dream life when Ree was in L.A. spending too much on shoes. She also happens to have collected on my current dream.  Her little simple blog grew to the point that when she published her cookbook, her fans went out and made it a #1 bestseller.  And demanded more.

Worst of all, I couldn’t find a single thing to criticize about the book.  It’s great.  I am a cookbook snob. I spent the entire weekend trying to find something to dislike.  There was nothing*.  It’s like she wrote it for me. Thanks, Pioneer Woman.

*Nothing I wouldn’t ask of every cookbook ever published. Is there a law requiring that every cookbook ever published include a recipe for artichoke dip?  I mean it; I need to know.

Yeah, and no, I am not being paid for an endorsement.  Or a review. Duh.  There is just not really anyplace but the blog where you can say you love someone you want to hate (ya stalker) and someone somewhere will go, “I’m cool with that.”



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