Archive for April, 2006


Living Beyond Yourself

April 14th, 2006 at 11:09 pm » Comments (29)

Lby_1This week the Word of God came ALIVE for me, thanks in part to this Bible Study! It was one of those times where God spoke so specifically about the circumstances in my life – through this study – and I was left mulling over His message for me for days.

Don’t you just love it when He does that?! Oh, our God is such a personal God! I pray that He meets you exactly – specifically – where you are as well, and takes your breath away, too. I pray that you let Him!

There are instances where kids are lovingly placed for adoption, and lovingly adopted. Lovingly adopted because the parents WANT and LOVE the child, and will go through whatever is necessary to have that child in their lives.  The hassle, the expense, the legal struggles, the waiting… all of those pale in comparison to the joy of that special day when the child is truly adopted, and a family is formed. (Do you remember that the Word says WE are all adopted? That’s how highly God thinks of adoption!) This is a joy I’ve experienced personally, although I haven’t said so here before. I have four kids, one of them I adopted at a young age, and three I didn’t.  Mike is the biological dad of all four.

(For those of you who secretly wonder if there is a ‘difference’ in a mom’s love – no. There’s not, but I don’t blame you for wondering)

There are also instances where sometimes those kids grow up a little and feel that maybe God had it wrong. That maybe the biological parents would be the absolute best, and this current life is really second best, instead of His best for them. The child’s perceived rejection, the feelings of abandonment, isolation, and resentment can grow. They have. My child’s heart has particularly hardened against me, as she feels that if I were not here, her life would be better. She has rejected me in every way she knows how, and she fantasizes of even more extreme ways to act out her feelings against me.

I love this child dearly. It’s hard to show it. It’s hard to be in the same room with her a lot of times. She’s hostile and looking to attack in any way she thinks she can. She’s a wonderful child, with serious issues.

Maybe this isn’t making any sense at all. Here is what I’m talking about.

I tell you all this – although I’d decided at first not to – because I want to share with you how God ministered to me so personally this week. It cannot be done otherwise, and so I put this all out there. Should you think I’m an awful parent, that’s ok. Leave it in the comments if you wish, just try to be tactful about it.

I have lived so fully under the false belief that my love has somehow failed my child. If only I could be more this, or more that, or just DO MORE… all would be well. The reality is I’ve done all I can. I’ve loved, I’ve prayed, and cried and disciplined and sought help from professionals. It hasn’t been enough and it was NEVER going to be enough. We’ve only just now discovered that yes, God does have a plan for how our daughter will be restored, and we finally understand it a little more.

I’m empty, drained, stressed, and numb from the chaos this has created in our family. This is the closest we’ve come to just not making it. I used to think we had it made, since ‘divorce just isn’t an option’ for us. And it wasn’t. Until life got so complicated, that out of sheer self preservation, I started to wonder about it. I had never before thought that anything would be able to so swiftly threaten our marriage – certainly nothing from within our own family – and yet it has. Mightily.

This week, God reminded me that love never fails. Seems simple, huh? But why, if it’s so simple, was I convinced that my love for my daughter had failed? For years I’ve thought this, and been weighed down by the guilt of it. My dirty secret.

But this week He lovingly pointed out that my love did not fail. His love did not fail. My daughter’s love? It didn’t fail. I’ve loved all I possibly can, and you know what? So has my kid, in the ways that she can right now.

I sat, amazed, as Beth Moore described the exact scenario in our home, where an adopted child has the issues I mentioned above.  What were the odds of that? Are there any ‘odds?’ No, it was just God, giving me exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right moment. I’m so numb to life right now, I don’t really ‘get’ subtlety. So God didn’t give me subtle – He gave me my whole life as an example in this week’s study, just so I wouldn’t miss His point.

I’m still thinking on it. I wish I had more to say that might mean something to someone else. The truth is I’m just not there yet, and I’m still awed by the personal, intimate, loving way in which He looks out for me. Also, some of the things I’m thinking about and praying about I just want to keep close a little longer, and not share just yet. And another thing. If I waited until I thought this was ready for some "Yea, This Post is Holy" status, well, I’d just never get there.

What I hope you get out of this (if you’re still with me!) is that God is a loving, personal God who cares about the details of your life more than you can imagine. Let Him show you. Let Him take your breath away with His unfailing love.

Sherry
Tara
Heather HolyMama! Eph2810
Christy Jenn Karin
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published weekly, between Friday 8pm – Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

Today, A Guest Blogger…

April 13th, 2006 at 10:30 pm » Comments (21)

Yesterday was my Thursday Thirteen, and today… my guest blogger presents a Friday Fifteen. Pretty snazzy, huh? And you know, it may be totally self centered and self indulgent to allow someone to post a list all about how great you are – and that’s totally what it is – but whatever. If you can’t do that on your own blog every now and then, where can ya? So, with my blessing – and already growing ego – I present…. (drumroll)

HolySister!

         HolySister’s Fifteen Things I Love about My Sister

1 – She’s my first memory.  She was a grunty, little red-faced infant, being placed on a pillow in my toddler lap.  I reached around to find her face and she bit down on my fingers with hard little gums.  From then on (or maybe a few minutes later, once the pain and indignation had faded), she was *my* baby.

2 – We have a shared list of words we nominate for extinction.  We both agree that ‘moist’ and ‘utensil’ have got to go.  She vetoes ‘fig’ (which I kind of like) and ‘heinous’ (which I admit to overusing during my freshman year in college.)

3 – As a fan club of 3 (including our mom), we refer to Dillard’s as The Mother Ship. 

4 – Kelsey can raise her eyebrows, widen her eyes and look sideways with far more variety and eloquence than any other non-verbal communicator I have ever encountered.  Ever.
 
5 – She has a very thoughtful if hilarious hand-gesture for warning people around her that she’s about to sneeze.  (It only works if you know what the frantic hand-fluttering means.  Otherwise you’re sitting there and after a moment of crazy silent scowling and waving an explosive noise sort of rocks you back in your seat and in the immediate silence that follows everyone checks to make sure that their clothes are still on straight.)
6 – She has gorgeous children and is a great mom.  Very inspirational.  She’s observant and amused and is totally tuned in to each child’s unique gifts and quirks and fears.  She generously lets me dote on them with very few restrictions.  (And she doesn’t even mind when the latest little baby has me utterly paralyzed by cuteness – ie, the cuteness is so great, that I have to stop whatever task it is I’m supposed to be doing – changing, dressing, feeding – and indulge in a frenzy of kisses.  An irresistible urge, believe me.  Her kids are *that* cute.)
7 – Although there are a few differences now and then, she is one of the few people in the world with whom I share the remembered geography of our grandmother’s house.  It was an important place for both of us, and included a large number of objects, memories, scents, sounds and traditions that no one else remembers.  It’s like a secret lost language that the two of us know.  A few other people in the family usually know what we’re talking about, but the two of us have the most complete shared sense of that place.  It’s good to have someone else who knows.
8 – Two words:  E.  Bay.  She’s the queen.  It’s hilarious because most of my friends consider me their eBay advisor, but I’m a total amateur compared to Mom and Kelsey.  If I get asked a question I can’t answer, I always defer to K.
 
9 – Together with our mom, we are one of the closest triumvirate of women I have ever come across.  We’re very good to and for each other.  The older I get the more I appreciate that.
10 – She calls me every few months to ask how to boil an egg.  I love that.  She did call me once last year to ask how to fry chicken.  And then half an hour later she called back to describe the fire she had just started and put out in her kitchen.  Despite all this, she cooks and eats quite well in her lovely big kitchen.  Her pot roast recipe rocks.
11 – She is the person in my life who probably has the highest opinion of me.  That sounds like a pretty self-centered thing to put on a list that’s supposed to be about someone else but think about it.  Everyone needs that person who not only thinks the best of you, despite probably having seen you at your worst, but is able to convince you now and then that they’re not crazy for thinking so.  Kelsey is that person for me.  She’s very good at shoring up confidence when it crumbles.  That is a rare and generous talent.  She has it by the bucketful.
12 – When we eat chocolate together it is a guilt-free zone.
 
13 – We have completely opposite tastes in a few key areas and we manage to be amused rather than annoyed by it.  The example that leaps immediately to mind is gardens.  Kelsey loves extremely formal, geometric, French-style gardens with topiaries and only white blossoms.  Clean lines, sharp angles, everything arranged with precision.  I, on the other hand, love English cottage gardens, all chaos and color and fuzz.  There is really no compromise here.  But we laugh and move on.
 
14 –She’s an excellent writer and editor.  Always entertaining and very thoughtful.  Not only in her professional capacity as blogger and author, but also in emails and letters between family and friends.  She and J-Mom set very high standards for communication.
   
15 –When we went to Australia together for the first time back in 1991, we kept seeing restaurants with B.Y.O. on the signs.  We had no idea what that meant.  (Aw, the innocents.)  So we spent a lot of time speculating on possible meanings – the only one we came up with that I remember clearly was Butter Your Own or Butter Your Onion.  We thought it might be some weird Australian custom that actually made us a little nervous about eating in local restaurants.  Eventually someone (probably Mom) took pity on us and let us in on the secret.  We had no idea such a concept as ‘bring your own’ existed – outside of the cover-dish dinners of our youth.  It’s a comfort to look back on that moment of shining ignorance and know that it was shared.
   
{HolyMama here: Dude. She used the word ‘triumvirate.’  Whoah.}
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Kelsey, Seth-5mth, and HolySister doing the "Baby Kiss Sandwich"

Thursday Thirteen

April 12th, 2006 at 11:55 pm » Comments (24)


Thirteen Things That Didn’t Help (Much) With Stress

1. M&Ms by the pound

2. M&Ms "Specktacular" Easter eggs

3. Cadbury mini eggs

4. Anxiety over weight surely gained due to !, 2, and 3

5. cold pizza

6. hot pizza

7. pizza after it’s been in fridge for 30 minutes and is neither hot nor cold. ew.

8. Obsessing over every single thing i’ve done badly as a mom,

9. and as a wife,

10. and all that pizza,

11. and telling myself anyone else would be doing waaaaay better, in the same curcumstances. (real useful thought, huh?)

12. Skipping church

13. Staying away from well intended callers.

(And the things that HAVE worked: prayer, 1 full day of Retail Therapy with my mom, naps, baths, foods that contain protein and not chocolate, and half of a really cute book i read while on that short trip. now where is it?)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Supper Swapping

April 11th, 2006 at 10:12 pm » Comments (24)

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I received an intriguing email awhile back. Susan Thacker, author of Supper Swapping, asked me to review her cookbook. In light of this, you can see Susan is brave, and maybe a bit of a gambler.

I emailed her back that if her cookbook required that I cook a bunch at one time, or switch meals with a friend, I wouldn’t do that. She sent me the cookbook anyway, and I was pleasantly surprised. The only time I saw a cookbook where you cook with a friend, it seemed that every recipe called for 9 cans of cream of mushroom soup. Um, GAG. I was thrilled to discover this was entirely different.

Supper Swapping has a very nice quality feel to it with thick, glossy pages. The recipes do not overwhelm with eleventy hundred ingredients, and are all from chefs at successful restaurants.

I tried Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore, and adored it. I mean, YEA. My kids don’t eat what I cook. THEY ATE IT. And then…?! Then they said the following:

Ethan-5yr: "It gets my vote, all the way up to the very top!"

Kim-11yr: "Can I have this in my lunch tomorrow?"

Caden-2yr: "Mmm!"

If necessary, re-read those comments after reminding yourself that chicken cacciatore HAS VEGGIES.

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(It smelled heavenly. This is right before I added the chicken. And below is proof it’s easy enough to make with a kid on your hip. And dude. That’s important around here.)

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What else is there to say?! I made it, they liked it. This is a success unlike 99% of my other cooking ventures. You go, Susan Thacker!!

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My mom laughed at the blob on the bowl’s edge. But whatever, it’s still pretty, huh?

My next effort was Zucchini Bread, and I LOVE zucchini. The batter was so delicious, I licked the bowl. Really. It had no chocolate, and yet – I snarfed it as if it were fudge. That’s how good.

Make it in a loaf pan, not an 8×8 like I did. But it was soooo good. And the kids liked it, too!

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Is this too glowing of a review? Sorry. I do not get along with cookbooks usually. NOT AT ALL. And this one? I love it.

Go here for more recipes and to order your own (autographed) copy. Really, GO.

Updated to add:

While I wrote the above, the third recipe i tried was in the oven. I didn’t mention it, because I didn’t know how it’d turn out. It was Coconut Pineapple Tart, and – in true Kelsey style – I messed it up 3 different ways. First, I figured that ‘unsweetened dried coconut’ and ‘ sweetened moist coconut’ were probably close enough. Um, WRONG.But my grocery store didn’t have unsweetened dried. Then, I didn’t soften the butter. (Because, hello? That means planning ahead, and I don’t do that) Then, I didn’t decrease the sugar to allow for the super sweet of the sweetened coconut I used. Oh, well maybe I messed it up four ways, since you were supposed to get all fancy and make your own tart crust, and — don’t read any further, Susan Thacker — I just used a ready made pie crust. But! Despite all that it was pretty good. If you can screw up a recipe 4 ways, and still have a nice dessert, that’s worth mentioning, dontchathink?


So… Ya Busy This Friday…?

April 11th, 2006 at 1:47 pm » Comments (8)

You might want to make a point to come by on Friday. I’ll have my very first Guest Blogger then, and I’m keeping her identity secret for now. (No, it’s not my mom.)


The Dress of Hotness and the Shoes of Gorgeousness

April 10th, 2006 at 1:19 am » Comments (32)

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Dress of Hotness was silk, gorgeous, and so on sale you wouldn’t believe it. You can’t see the pretty purple bow on the side. Now, squint at the shoes. Didn’t work? Okay, try here. I already had the shoes from my friend’s wedding last year, so they were free. Well, not last year, but for this date. (Doesn’t that make sense? It does in my head.)

So, we’re dressed all up, and are checking into the hotel, and I realize that the man checking us in is someone Mike has met – I have not – and he’s the owner of the hotel. Finally the man asks if he knows us from somewhere. (and WHY are we checking into a hotel in our hometown all dressed up, is probably the other thing he’s wondering)

Mike says, "Oh yes. Hi. Um, we’re so and so, and our kid is friend with your kid, and we met back in…. blah blah blah." He just starts blah-ing on. And then ends with, "And this is Kim."

Hello? That’s our kid’s name. THe kid he has just referred to in the preceding sentences, so now Hotel Man is really looking confused. And I poke Mike in the side to jolt him back into remembering that I am NOT HIS DAUGHTER.

Ew, not romantic.

A giant red flush creeps up Mike’s neck, to his cheeks, and he stammers, "Um, Kelsey. Her name is Kelsey. Uh, she’s… my wife."

The man is smooth, no?


There’s Something About Mary

April 9th, 2006 at 2:27 pm » Comments (13)

Here, I promise to tell you why Mary (of Owlhaven) rocks. (Besides her finalist status in the category of ‘makes us all want more kids,’ a reason for which she is more widely known)

I am a whiner. No secret, right? Well, Mary hears it on-blog and off, since I’ve sought her wise, mom of 8, counsel through email as well. Recently she asked me to send her my address, and I got a little nervous. I expected maybe a nine inch thick book entitled "Why HomeSchooling Solves All" or something along those lines. And she was SO, SO sweet. Look!

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Inside were cute socks, lotion, CHOCOLATE, and a magazine for homeschoolers. (That was clearly a hint, but one very well received and appreciated on my part)

I very much needed that unexpected pick- me-up! Thank you, Mary!!


Living Beyond Yourself. Sorta.

April 7th, 2006 at 11:52 pm » Comments (24)

Living Beyond Yourself.

Do NOT sign up for such a study lightly. Don’t think, "Oooh! Fun. And Beth Moore! And woo-hoo, I’ll be all holy and learn so much and CLICK commit." Because the NAME OF THE STUDY is Living Beyond Yourself. This implies learning to do things you cannot do, in and of itself, does it not? It does, IF YOU’RE SMART ENOUGH to pay attention and give that a moment’s thought.

I did not give that a moment’s thought.

Stress. Big stress. Stress That No Shoes Or Silk Dress Or M&Ms Can Soothe. Just God. And the TMJ thing is back, thank you stress, and that prevents the m&m thing anyway. (Or at least makes them far less enjoyable)

That impromptu trip  that lasted a few days? Not a romantic getaway. Did i imply that somehow it was? HA!! It was a trip to Parenting’s Last Resort, which was surprisingly lovely. We met with three men who are dedicated to helping troubled kids. It was surreal. One of them looked like a cross between Barry Manilow and Gene Wilder. One looked exactly like Dermot Mulroney, and the third? Just like John Denver. Surreal, to be talking parenting stuff with these three. I just wanted to stop and say, "excuse me. Have y’all NOTICED what you LOOK LIKE ALREADY?! Why am I the only one freaked out right now?" But I didn’t.

Will catch up this weekend on the things promised in previous post. In the meantime, please pray that i return to my regularly scheduled life soon.

Sherry
Tara
Heather HolyMama! Eph2810
Christy Jenn Karin
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published weekly, between Friday 8pm – Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

Things I Can’t Wait to Tell You!

April 3rd, 2006 at 4:30 pm » Comments (28)

But, i’ll have to. Because I’ll be going away, w/o laptop for a couple of days. But when I get back, I just cannot WAIT to tell you the following:

1. Why Mary rocks. I’ll include pictures.

2. Pics of the Dress of Hotness, since y’all haven’t forgotten, apparently.

3. Review of Supper Swapping, by Susan Thacker (yeah, someone asked ME to review her cookbook and I did. Are you just imagining the kitchen chaos already? Susan’s brave. And clearly, she’s got a sense of humor.)

4. And I really, really want to catch up on LBY posts. I’m halfway through the introduction. (Does that sound lame or what? But it’s not. It’s bless-ful.)

5. Also, I’ll tell you about how on the Date of Epic Proportions, Mike accidentally introduced me to someone as his daughter. Ew. Ick. SoooOOOooo not romantic.


The Indie Virus, or “Mystery To Me”

April 1st, 2006 at 11:05 pm » Comments (10)

I’m here with time and quiet, and was looking forward to spending some quality time catching up on Living Beyond Yourself, but it. won’t. WORK. for. me. Technical difficulties that I cannot understand or get around at the moment, and it’s got me feelin oh so Christlike and patient, let me tell you.  (Really, if there’s anyone who needs a Bible study teaching to Live Beyond Herself, it’s ME. And it’s right NOW. But fine, whatever, I’ll press on and overcome and all that.)

So, this Indie Virus Thing. I do not pretend to understand it AT ALL. It’s a virus you’re supposed to be GLAD to get, as a blogger, and glad to pass on. But I don’t know why, or what the point is, and if anyone could explain that to me – because I  don’t get the technical side of this blog stuff at all – that’d be great. Comments or emails that are explanatory would be so, so great.

This is the prettiest picture that comes up on Google Image Search when you type in Virus. Why does it have a star? I don’t know. Why is it red, white, and blue? Is it patriotic? I don’t know. What is the deal with this Indie virus thing? That I do not know either. But isn’t this a pleasant image for ‘virus?’ Yes.

Virus_1

I’m cutting and pasting the following, since really I couldn’t ever write it or even paraphrase, because I’m all, ‘whaaaa….?’  And eloquent. So eloquent.Here’s what I got from Peach at Just Peachy. (Who is truly that. A peach. Love her!)

Pearsonified has started a small, casual social experiment, it’s called “The Indie Virus.” Here’s how Pearsonified describes this experiment:The experiment, henceforth referred to as “The Indie Virus,” has two goals:

* To bring exposure to lesser known blogs (especially those outside of Technorati’s top 100)
* To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign launched by the “little guys” (less popular blogs)

{HolyMama here, Did y’all read that last one? To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign…? HUH? Please translate that for me, Somebody Smart!}

I got this virus from Momma M at The Chaotic Home (y’all, she is the next big songwriter. go check her out if you don’t know who i mean.), Peach,  Heth (yep, another of my favorites) over at From Under the Laundry Pile, and Jeana at Laughter for the Days to Come. (y’all know my adoration for Jeana already.  If not, check my sidebar.)

I recommend going HERE to Heth’s to read where she links to Pearson’s directions more effectively than I could.

Since I’ve gotten this 4 times, and you’re supposed to infect 2 people, I’m infecting 8. (Due to a million circumstances, i’m behind on my blog reading. i only know of these 4 infections. if there’s more, let me know, and i’ll gladly update this post!)

New bloggers:

Patrick

Yellow Mama

And more bloggers I like:

Stephanie

Susan

The Geekwif

Muley

Julie

Diane

All of you newly infected ones, remember to link to a person’s post, not merely to their site. why? i have no clue. but it’s important i think.