Saturday, February 28, 2009

Silver and Gold

As iron sharpens iron,

so one (wo)man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

I'm so thankful for friends and family whose words and presence in my life sharpen me. I love leaving a conversation feeling as though I have experienced true fellowship. A perfect blend of honesty and grace, seasoned with godly wisdom and peppered with laughter.

Remember that old Girl Scout song... "Make new friends, but keep the old..." ? Here's what some of my silver and gold friends have impressed upon me recently.

From a friend of 15+ years...

We were talking about Foster Adoption. I expressed my concern of the unknown. What if we welcome a child into our home only to have it taken from us months later, leaving our hearts broken?

"You have no guarantee how long the Lord will allow any of your children to be with you," she replied. "But God has everything under His control. We have to hold loosely."

Deep down, I know this to be true, but to hear this friend speak these words into my life at that time was life altering. These words, as though from God's lips, set me on a new course.

From a friend of 10+ years...

We were talking about Homeschooling. I was telling her about my first week in the new endeavor... how most of the days had been good, but we definitely had had our moments. She began to tell me about her difficult days, when everyone is crying.

And then she shared a philosophy. "You can either view your child as a bucket that is to be filled, or a match that is to be lit," she conveyed.

In this second week, I have been trying to kindle a fire... a passion for learning.

From a friend of less than a year...

We were talking about ministry. I feel as though God has been busy molding me lately. I want to be yielding in the potter's hands, but sometimes it is hard to see what vessel I am to become. I struggle with doubt and not wanting to fail anyone, yet I know it is a part of learning and growing and being refined. It is where God can be strong in my weaknesses.

She listened.

She offered encouragement.

She was there... and that is what I needed.

Thank you, friends, for shining... for reflecting His glorious light.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Scientific Playbill

I brushed up my acting chops for a rare stage appearance today.
And I must say, that at a purely molecular and artistic level, it was some of my best method work. The boys truly grasped the essence of their characters as well.

Here it is...

The States of Matter

An Atomic 3 Act Play

The molecules were introduced. They definitely produced comic relief, but really lacked direction. It was a vaporous mess and we were pretty foggy on the dialog.

This loosely linked molecule gave way to a slippery slope, but I would have to say we really felt its fluidity. And the depth of this act spoke volumes.

A substantial ending followed. It's resolution was tight. The dense undertones gave way to a lesson we shall not soon forget.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Have you ever been followed? It's such an unnerving experience. One I really don't enjoy.

Once I was followed on my way home from the pharmacy. It was dark. The other car from the parking lot kept making all the same turns. I drove through an obscure neighborhood, made a few quick turns and ditched him. I was praying and planning in my head... which house would I run to if necessary? My heart rate accelerated, I waited with the doors locked, and finally left when I watched the car drive by and not return.

In college I was followed on 2 separate occasions by young salesmen who sold magazines in effort to earn enough "points" to travel to their destination of choice. Sure, they're witty and charming at first. Until you tell them "no" and they don't like that answer and you can't seem to shake them. Then they become whiny leeches who follow you around dark campuses or on the way back to your apartment. You have to threaten to use your safety whistle, and then they call you 4 and 5 letter words and stomp off in a huff.

Today I was followed again. I wasn't sure at first... I thought maybe I was just being paranoid. The boys and I were shopping for groceries. It seemed like every isle we were in was the same isle one particular couple also wanted to be in. At first I assumed we were just systematically going through the store at the same time, and then one of them would kind of just show up as I was turning. A guilty look would follow and then they'd pretend to talk or look at a package of meat or seasoning or some other completely random food item. They had no cart... it was just weird.

I didn't want to upset the kids, but at the same time I was beginning to feel like a lionness with her little cubs. You just don't want to mess with a lionness.

Eventually, I checked out and right outside the door waiting for me... you guessed it... Mr. & Mrs. Stakeout. Unfortunately the van was parked right there. There was nowhere to go with my big cart of food, so I got it unpacked as quickly as I could, and then Mr. Stakeout started walking toward me. Ok, here we go.

He told me that they needed money for a hotel room. Without even thinking, I told him I was sorry, but I really didn't like the way they'd been following me around. He said ok and walked away.

Then I felt badly. What if these strangers were angels in disguise? What if this couple was really in dire straits and I was their last hope? What if God really wanted me to help them? I guess I just reasoned that if I gave them money, it would be rewarding them for following me around for a half an hour.

I'm conflicted. I don't know what I should have done.

I just know that I don't like to be followed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shades in Winter

I'm putting out a call for some advice this morning.
I need to get some new sunglasses... prescription sunglasses.

I think the last time I bought them was before Josh was born or sometime shortly thereafter. The prescription probably isn't even correct anymore.

It's been a while.

I don't know why I am thinking about this during winter.

Maybe I am planning ahead, but knowing me, I doubt it.

Then again, I'm in CA and it might be 80 tomorrow...

you never know.

Sunglass styles have changed a lot. Have you noticed?

I am scared.

Chances are I will have the sunglasses I pick for another 8 or 9 years,

so I'd better make a good decision.

I Googled some sunglasses to get a general idea of what's out there.

I'll probably end up just going to Costco.

What do you think I should go for??

Some big bug eye kind of glasses?

Something understated with just a small detail?

Something that might make Sophia Loren happy?

Something all blinged out with little rhinestones on the sides?

Or a combination of just about everything?

Please tell me what to do...

otherwise I'm highly likely to make a very horrible mistake.

I am completely serious.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How 'bout some milk to wash that down...

I am eating humble pie today. A pretty large helping.

Sometimes I have said or at least thought that I would never do something. Like dying my hair, for instance. Now my hair has been most of the shades of chestnut, mocha and auburn brown that Walmart stocks. So much for that never.

Sometimes I don't have the audacity to say I'll never do something, but I think it. Like before I had kids... I thought I would never be caught in a grocery store with a tantrum throwing toddler. Not my own anyway. Ha! Right. Snicker.

Today I am undoing another never.

I am homeschooling my eldest.

I've said many times that it would never happen. I've said in a public forum that Josh and I could never survive homeschooling. There are witnesses who probably remember this promise.

Yet here I am with a full week of Language Arts, Math, Social Science, and Science lesson plans staring at me.

It's not that I don't like teaching... I have a multiple subject credential.

It's not that I don't like my kids... I love 'em.

I've just always been much better at teaching other people's kids.

But it's what Josh needs right now, so I'm going to un-never it to my best ablility. I have repented. Forward march!

I should probably never say never again...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rainy Day Valentines and Love Songs

I asked Josh to design a Valentine for his class party

and here's what he came up with...

It was a fun project for a rainy day!!

It kept him busy and happy for a long time!!

With Valentine's Day coming up and colorful hearts at every turn,

I've been wondering...

Do you have a favorite "love song" or a "They're playing our song?"
Do you secretly love Barry Manilow or Celine Dion??

I have 2 favorites...

"In Your Eyes"

by Peter Gabriel

(reminds me of our courtship!)


"What a Wonderful World"

by Louis Armstrong

(1st dance at our wedding!)

And I might as well confess that I do own a Celine Dion CD.


"My Heart Will Go On"
and on...

Your Turn...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why, thank you, Mrs. Seinfeld!

So I was at Ross and Marshall's this week looking for dress shoes. Not for myself... I have enough dressy shoes that don't get much use. I was looking for Josh. He was asked to be a ring bearer in a wedding next month, and shoes are just not a good last minute purchase. I wanted to get a head start. But the funny thing about Ross and Marshall's is that they never seem to have what you want when you want it.

Incidentally, I didn't find any shoes, but Marshall's did have something else that made my heart go pitter-pat. I got very excited... maybe even elated. I'm not sure I know the difference. I gasped and said, "Oh!!! I have been wanting this for so long Jason." I think I startled the lady next to me. Maybe she isn't used to witnessing such excitability at a discount store.

Anyhooo... I'm sure you are now
wondering what caused my sudden outburst.
Here it is in all it's splendor:

My inspiration. My cooking muse. For $6.99.
Deceptively Delicious
by Jessica Seinfeld

I try to be creative with meals and make them appealing to the kiddos (and even the big boy who is not a big fan of veggies, either). Vegetables, as exciting as they are to me, just don't make the boys do flips. My mom has an interesting book about blood types, and the author has a theory that people with type A blood actually like vegetables and people with type O like meat, and actually need it. This seems to be 100% accurate for my house, although I just cannot see how this would be beneficial and balanced from a nutrition perspective.

I spent a couple hours steaming & grating veggies and pureeing this morning. Then, I snuck the veggies in all kinds of things. We devoured pumpkin in pancakes. We sampled cauliflower, carrot and sweet potato hidden in a bean and cheese burrito. And we chowed down on egg noodles covered in yellow squash and freshly grated parmesan. That's 5... yes, 5 vegetables in a single day! Get the smelling salts... I think I'm going to faint!!

1-yellow squash, 2-sweet potato, 3-broccoli, 4-cauliflower, 5-carrots, 6-spinach

And do you know what? My carnivores ate and liked their veggies! I wouldn't say that they are on their way to becoming herbivores any time soon, but progress is progress. When I told Joshua what he'd eaten, he just couldn't believe it.

There are about 4 pounds of grated & pureed veggies in my fridge and freezer right now. It'll be interesting to see where they end up in the next month!! Do you have any good strategies at your house?? Cause I'm on a roll and I need more inspiration to keep it going!! :)

Oh, and by the way, here is the recipe for the Pumpkin Pancakes if you'd like to try it:

I left out allspice. I also added another egg and a couple more splashes of milk for a thinner consistency. They were super yummy and there's barely any sugar in this recipe.

Next time, I may try substituting some whole wheat flour and adding some flax meal for Omega 3's.

Somebody stop me!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kid Quotes: Edition 2

Here were the best kid quotes of Casa Z in 2008

ages 7-8

"This movie amazed my halfway to death."

"I'm not full at all... I just opened my bottomless pit."

"I'm just stretching, so that I don't break my ankle or something.

Then I might have to go under the knife and that would not be pretty."

(This one is to show what a boy he is.)

"A snake just pooed. I told everyone to cover their noses.
That was exciting, disgusting and weird at the same time."

"You better get used to Jason and I teaming up to do things that are extreme."

"You (mom) really know about a lot of stuff."

(Why thanks, Josh!)

ages 2-3

(Holding a picture he painted...)

"Wow! Amazing! It's for you, Josh! Here!"

(The first time he ever created something and gave it away!!)

"I'm just brushing my hair, cause it's growing!"

"I'm a beautiful man.

God made me a beautiful heart.... (belch)!"

(To mom)

"You are happiness in my world."

"I'm not Swedish!"

(Good to know...)

I wish I'd written down more from last year!! Where does the time go?? If you'd like to read the first edition, it's here. There were some really great ones in that batch!! :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

On Flying...

Did you ever have a cape when you were a kid? The kind of cape that made you feel like you could fly? Maybe it was your trusty blanket...
Running and jumping, the cape would take flight behind you and you felt like an invincible superhero. For those moments you were soaring and there wasn't a star you couldn't reach. The couch became your tall building and you could leap it in a single bound.

Then there were the times when the cape would get stuck on a doorknob or on a clumsy piece of furniture. Or maybe your big brother purposely stepped on it when you sat down and you were unaware. Ready to take off for flight, you were abruptly jerked back down to earth with a red mark about your neck and a bruised ego. Sometimes it made you downright angry. And you didn't feel like flying again. It wasn't worth the risk.

Sometimes I feel like my cape still gets stepped on. Some days I feel as though I'm soaring in the heights, and other days I am dropped into a valley. I am humbled as I look to the mountain, and I wonder if I'll ever have the courage to fly again. Maybe I'd rather just avoid another neck wound.

And sometimes I step on other people's capes. I ground them, often without even meaning to. I don't give them room to grow and continue on their journey. Or I withhold complete forgiveness, still keeping the corner of the cape in between my fingers. I can't, or won't, just let it go. When I finally do, I marvel at the miracle of flight, and my heart feels like soaring again, too.

...but those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles...

Isaiah 40:31
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