Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Laundry: It must be folded

Oh! that there was a little laundry fairy that would come to my house and neatly fold all the clothes that sit upon the couch!

I have a thousand and one things to do today-starting with the laundry and ending with a wedding.

No really, my cousin is getting married this evening and I cannot tell you how excited I am.

Mostly because on my Dad's side there are eleven first cousins. We haven't all been together, in one place, since my wedding over thirteen years ago. 

I am the oldest at 35.  The rest of the cousins are all in their 20's with the exception of the youngest who is eleven.

It's been fun to catch up with each other over email and bridal showers in the last several weeks. They are all so amazingly talented and grown up! I am always amazed by how much we all look alike!  

I look forward to visiting; celebrating a sweet time in the life of one of my cousins, and welcoming the groom into the family. It's going to be fun.

There is much to be done between now and then, but I didn't want to leave the blog unattended for another day.

I have a question for you...

What is your favorite part of a wedding?  Is it the processional? The cake? The first pronouncement as "husband and wife"? 

And if you don't have a favorite part of the wedding then what is your favorite wedding movie? This summer I have watched more wedding movies! Not on purpose, it just sort of worked out that way. So tell me, what is yours?

Mine is probably a toss up between The Wedding Planner and Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dinner Time Conversation

Last night I made Italian Beef for dinner. My kids always complain that all I ever cook is chicken so, they were in carnivore heaven. 

The Girl, with meat on her fork that's poised in the air says, "Where does this come from?"

"A cow." I reply, forgetting that she is such an animal lover that she often doesn't want to know where her meat comes from.

She stopped her fork in mid-air and I watched as her facial expressions changed from shock, to uncertainty, to acceptance in the span of two seconds.  She quickly said, "It's good!" and we all had a good laugh.

The subject quickly changed, as it tends to go:

The Boy: I love science, but I will never dissect anything.

Me: Dissection isn't so bad. I dissected a frog and a fish in high school, and I actually enjoyed it.

The Girl: Dad dissected a pig!

The Mister: No, actually a pig kidney.

The Boy: I could never do that.

The Mister: Sure you could. Dissection is good, because you can learn all about how things work.

The Boy: What else have you dissected?

The Mister: Hmm... lets see.  I dissected a frog, and a goat...Oh! and a human. (in graduate school)

The Girl: HE  WAS  ALIVE!!!???

Dinner. It's rarely dull.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tips on Being Normal

When I shop at Target normally, I park in the same isle, toward the back of the lot. I don't expect to park in the exact same spot every time, but I do like to keep parked in the same general area when patronizing this large store.

I do this partly because I am a creature of habit. I also do this so I can remember where I park. ( mid-30's, it's hard on the parking-lot memory...)

Last week, I threw caution to the wind and decided to park in a different isle on the opposite part of the lot. However, I was cut off by a grandfatherly driver in a much smaller car. So, in the end, I parked where I normally do. 

After I paid for my items I proceeded to my car while doing the things I normally do: look through my handbag for keys and sunglasses. Can you say distracted?

I walked to my car, only it wasn't there.

In my state of panic I remember that I hadn't actually parked in a different spot, but for the life of me I couldn't remember where I decided to park. I knew it couldn't be far from my normal area, so I made the choice to wander around the parking lot pushing the lock button on my key-less remote. 

Finally the familiar sound of my mini-van horn called me home like a lost homemaker in a desert parking lot.

The mini-van? Sitting in it's normal spot.

Who ever invented the keyless remote is, quite frankly a genius, or he's married to someone like me. 

Since we are here and we are talking about Target... This weekend I went to buy a gift card and some needed toiletries.  Normally, to save time, I run my card while the checker is doing her job.

I pushed the Accept button just as I looked up and saw that she has charged my account for $533!  Uh....I'm pretty sure that shampoo was not that expensive.... Turns out she had rung up the $50 gift card as $500. 

My attempt to create a speedy check out was foiled and she had to void the whole transaction and start over.

The La Vida Dulce lesson of the week: Don't be normal.

It's highly overrated.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

True-ism: I Am Loved - Isaiah 54:10

"Though the mountains be shaken and
the hills be removed, 
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
say's the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Even if I never lose the weight, flatten my tummy, or get curves in the "right" place, I am still forgiven and free. And loved like crazy.


Forty years ago this store started the I Am Loved campaign to help people feel loved. 

As a kid I remember going to the mall and passing by this well known jewelry store. I remember seeing the little glass bowls filled with the Red I Am Loved Pins, setting on  the display counter.

I can remember wanting one of those pins so badly, but who would wear such a thing? I can remember wondering as a child if wearing that pin was kind of like bragging. Wouldn't it be like saying right there on your shirt or jacket that you were confident that you were loved? 

Now let me say that I didn't feel unloved, as a matter of fact I was confident my parents loved me, but they were, after all, my parents...they were required by law to love me!  

So, at a young age I began to question the words on that little Red Pin.  I had ambivalence: I wanted to wear that pin with everything in me, but how could I wear something I didn't totally believe was true.

As an adult I took that ambivalence with me. 

Although my parents weren't always every Sunday church goers, they made sure my brothers and I went to Religious Ed classes and were in church on holidays. I am grateful for my up-bringing because I knew God was there for me; I knew that I could talk to Him; I knew that He loved me.

Although, I didn't whole heartedly believe it.

As long as I can remember I had a strong need for God. Somehow, I developed a theology that went something like this: God will love you when are good enough. God will love you when you are kind. God will love you when you hang around the right people. God will love you if you dress the right way. God will love you when...

As I have mentioned here before, growing up here in the desert was one of endless choir practices, auditions, musicals, singing gigs, etc. I was known as "a singer." Moving away for 12 years and coming back has been interesting for me, because every time I run into someone I knew back in the day, they always ask "Are you still singing?" and they are shocked to know that I don't do much of that now. 

I am telling you this because singing was absolutely how I defined myself.  I had a little wall plaque hanging in my room as a teenager that said, 

"God likes me always, but He loves me when I sing."

I never knew how much I took that little saying to heart, until the season came when I wasn't singing anymore. There came a time when I stopped singing because I moved from my small pond town, to the big pond of Dallas/Forth Worth, where the talent was amazing and I was unknown and uncertain. I was going to have to start by proving wether I was as good as everyone I grew up with said I was (and honestly, I was doubtful). To make matters worse in this time period I was either always pregnant or breast feeding. Which made things a little more difficult.

Solomon writes this in Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun.

It was in this season that I was stripped of that one thing that never failed to give me value. My theology was slipping through my fingers because I had been a parent long enough to know that as hard as I tried, I couldn't be good enough, kind enough, successful enough, and my friends would willingly admit that they weren't perfect either. I wasn't too surprised though, because while trying to be these things before having children, I was always plagued by these questions: When will I know it's enough? When can I stop trying so hard to win love? When can I wear that Red Pin without any doubt, or feelings of presumption?

However, when my singing "career" consisted of nightly gig's in the nursery, singing to children who couldn't tell me how good I was, I was suddenly thrown into a spiral. If I could not prove myself by singing, how would I earn love now?

Why am I telling you this?

Because I want you to know, that sometimes, like when I saw this True-ism the first time, or when I see a Red Pin at the mall, my first gut reaction is that those three words are all psycho-babble that cannot be concretely proved! That sentence is hard for me type, because by nature I am not a cynic, but for a very long time I truly believed in the depths of my heart that love could be earned, however there were no guarantee's.

I don't believe that anymore.

In December 2002, I found myself lying on the floor of my closet in Fort Worth, TX. I was at one of the lowest points in my life, spiritually, mentally, and physically.  I laid down on the floor of my closet and cried, because I had just weighed myself. Not only had I reached the weight I had always wanted to be, but I had far exceeded it. Imagine my shock when I realized, like everything else I had tried in my life, it wasn't enough.

I made an appointment with the Director of Women's Ministry at our church. She set me up with a counselor, found me an amazing mentor and said this to me: Pursue God's love.

I'll be honest and tell you that I was a bit confused because I knew that God loved me, much like my parents and now my husband love me, but it was because I knew that that was the "right" answer. The answer those around me expected to hear.

I had no idea how to go about Pursuing God's Love, so I pulled out a concordance and looked at all the references to God's love in the bible and started to look them up. When I found a verse on God's love that I wanted to focus on I would write it down and put it somewhere I could see it often: on the computer screen, the bathroom mirror, or the dashboard in the car.  

After about two years of this, I began to deeply realize that God's love is not something I earn, but it is freely given.  I began to realize that I really didn't deserve His love, but He was lavishly loving me anyway. I came to understand that it wasn't how well I did things, or what I looked like, or how thin or heavy I was, that God's love was truly unconditional.  The only thing I had to do was be brave enough to accept it. 

Isaiah 54:10 says it all: No matter what happens in life, if you understand that God's love for you is consistent and un-yielding, then we can face anything.  When the world as we know it crumbles; when life doesn't work out the way we planned; when suddenly we look in the mirror and that 30 pounds of weight gain is suddenly apparent; or when we get on the scale and we realize that we really cannot be "thin enough" without sacrificing everything else; when we realize that it isn't diamonds, or clothes, or friends, or ministry, or kids, or talent; it isn't even knowing the right answers or having the perfect theology, that makes us lovable. 

It's because God says He loves us, and has proved that He does by sending His Son to die on the cross for us. He also has given us His Word, the Bible, to help us to know Him and His love, more.

"I am forgiven and free. And am loved like crazy"

It sounds cliche, until you know it's true.

My challenge for you is to pursue God's love. Here are a ton of reference's to Love in the bible. If you have a concordance you can start your own list. 

Focusing my mind on the Love of God was not a quick fix. It takes me along time to write and talk and think my way through things. I am still (six years later) pursuing God's love, because He is a well of living water that never runs dry. 

True Campaigners, how I wish I could come up with a little True Campaign pin that we could wear as Pursuers of God's love, but the good news is that we don't need a pin to wear God's love. It will be apparent in our countenance, our joy, our ability to live life freely, without worry and concern about when we will ever be lovable!

This next week we will focus on True-ism: I Choose to Believe and Jeremiah 29:11.

For those of you True Campaigners that want to know how to become more involved with the True Campaign, go read Travis' post. This is an exciting time for both Constance and Travis as word spreads about their ministry. 

If you are visiting from that post, Hello! I am so glad that you stopped by. In the side bar you will find all the True-ism posts that I have written so far. Be sure to say hello when you get a chance!

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cookie Therapy

Good Morning!

Well, first I want to say thank you for all your prayers, awesome comments, emails and phone calls you sent my way yesterday. It's so nice to know I've got friends in my corner!

I'm feeling better today (and so is The Boy) so your prayers are being felt (just don't stop yet!)

I have noticed that there are four things I do during stressful times: clean, shop, bake or sew. 

Since my house was already clean this week (because of all the people coming in out in preparation for the move), and filling my mini-van with gas is now over $60 each week, I knew that cleaning therapy and shopping therapy was out.

I would have opted for sewing therapy but I had to put all that stuff away when cleaning last week, and the thought of hauling it all out seemed overwhelming.

So I did what any stressed homemaker does: I made Snicker Doodles.

Cookie Therapy. It's good for what ails ya.

Let me tell you why baking (and really sewing, cleaning) is what I turn to in stressful times...because it's all measured out, folded up, or stitched straight. It's methodical, precise and all of it, COMPLETELY UNDER MY CONTROL!!!!

But I digress...

As a gift for your well wishes I am going to give you my SnickerDoodle recipe:

SnickerDoodle's, a la Kellie the CoffeeGal

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1  egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1- 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tarter

Mix to roll dough in:
2 TBLS Sugar
2 TBLS cinnamon

Mix 2tbls sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients (except sugar) together in a bowl.
Mix softened butter, sugar and wet ingredients together until fluffy.
Add dry ingredients.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll each in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.


Tell me.  What do you do when stressed? Inquiring minds want to know!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On Being a Parent

Sometimes being a mom is so incredibly difficult.

Sometimes I long for those preschool days when I was the only person in my kid's little lives to make them miserable (and you know sometimes that's true); when I had control of almost every part of their day.

For over a week now I have lost sleep, my appetite, and my ability to think straight because of worry over my oldest child.

I am not boasting when I tell you that he is the sweetest child I have ever known. He is kind and compassionate. He desires to please. He is respectful. He is helpful to others, and he is very sensitive.

He's just a good kid. 

I would love to take all the credit for who he is, and write about how my Great Parenting Skills and Perfect Mothering have made him who he has become, but the truth is that I was given not one, but two, amazing children. I was given these amazing kiddos, and in spite of my failings and flaws as a parent they are (so far) a joy to us, and to others.

However, have you ever noticed that often times our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness?

This is true for my kids as well. We have experienced it this week in epidemic proportions as my son deals with a new teacher who is laying a heavy hand with her fifth grade class. 

The Boy is so fearful of getting into trouble (although in six years of schooling this has NEVER happened) that he has an amazing amount of anxiety. He's afraid of his teacher.

I won't take the time, nor the energy, to go into the details but after 8 days of fear and endless pep talks I decided to take action. My hope was to get him moved into a class where he feels less threatened (and I did this with no small amount of thought, prayer and council). 

We were denied.

So this morning I took my trembling son to the classroom with a promise that I would return to volunteer at 9:30a, for an hour. 

I am now back from volunteering, but I still feel unsettled as he has three and a half hours to complete before he can come home to his soft place to land.

Several years ago when The Boy started kindergarten I had to memorize this scripture to get over the anxiety of sending him off to "strangers" for six hours a day:

2 Timothy 1:12
...I know whom I have believed and am convinced
 that He is able to guard
 what I have entrusted to him for that day.

I find myself having to remind myself over, and over, again that no one could love my child more than God. No one could be in safer hands than the one who is in His hands. The Boy is my child, but there is no greater guard than the God who made him who he is...

I know that the decision we have made to make The Boy face his fears is one that is right. One that has definite boundaries (I have spoken with the principle and the teacher to clearly define what my expectations are.) I know that this time in his life will make him stronger, make him into a great man of strength and integrity. I am praying that it will be in times like this, when I cannot be there to comfort and assure him, that he will remember that God is always with him. 

I pray that he will learn that he can depend on the Lord; with or without me there to encourage him.

And mothers heart aches for him; it doesn't want him to experience pain.

In yesterday's post I spoke about something that was troubling my heart. This is the gist: its hard to let go when it feels so rotten. 

It's hard to watch him learn that sometimes life isn't fair. 

It's hard to watch your child suffer, and remember that joy can only be celebrated when we understand the pain of suffering. 

It's hard...'s hard, and I am awesomely aware that it's necessary.  

A very tired, 
La Vida Dulce

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Random Thoughts From Kellie's Brain

~I cleaned out my freezer today. I threw out Christmas '07 cookies, a bag of mini shrimps (that I don't remember buying, but had an expiration date of April 08) and one lonely, freezer burned, mini bagel...

~The moving company we are using sent over a surveyor this week to estimate our household goods...

~If you think you are a good house keeper, then you should invite a random stranger into your home and let her look in all your cabinets, closets, and drawers where you usually hide things before company comes over.

Then you won't feel quite as smug about your housekeeping skills.

~When your husband nudges you while blogging and says "Honey, did you know that there aren't any graham crackers to dip into milk (one of his favorite after running snacks)", the correct answer would not be, "Well, there is the box of organic Oreo-esqe cookies, that I bought a month ago". 

He will look at you with every bit of seriousness, and say, "That's not funny."

~Man!, I shouldn't have thrown out those Christmas cookies...

~Those organic cookies are terrible.

~I eat graham crackers only when I am desperate for something sweet. As a last resort.

~I do enjoy Annie's Graham Bunnies though.

~My cupboard (and fridge) is almost bare. There is no chicken, nor beef. We are out of cheese, tortillas and vegetables. There is one piece of salmon, and since we ate omelets for dinner tonight, we are down to 3 eggs.

~We are completely out of dog food.

~ I never eat dog food as a last resort. 

~Just in case your wondering...

~You know what has forced my hand to get to the store?

~I have only 3 coffee filters left....

~Why is it when you unplug your computer for three measly hours, you think of 5897 things to write about...but when you are sitting in front of the screen and have a few minutes to blog, you can think of NOTHING...

~Honestly, I'm in the middle of a really hard situation right now that has been weighing heavily on my mind for several days. Which is why I am probably having a tough time writing...

~I tend do that when I am thinking things through...

~I can't think and write at the same time.

~ Well, I can. 

~But things always seem to work out for the better when I think before I act.


~I act...

~That will be hard too.

~But then maybe...just maybe, I'll be able to post something a little more organized!

~But then again, maybe not!


La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm Back!

Did'ya miss me?

Ok, so I didn't have to go all day. Just a few hours.

But the MINUTE the photographer was outta here I was rushing to get the computer back out. 

It is awful to admit how much I kept walking back into the kitchen to check on email...only to be confronted with an empty desk!

Is that a storm coming? I'll just pop on to and look at the radar.

Oops, no computer. that a hankering for Snicker Doodles? Let's go to the computer and look up my recipe....oh wait. No computer.

(The phone rings.) A friend wants to have coffee this week. I'll just run to the computer and look at my calendar...uh...I can't commit, because there is no computer.


My life is far too complicated! 

Which, by the way, was why I started using a computer to begin keep myself organized and less paper-y. Everything is locked up in this tiny little box!  Yes, I am organized, and scheduled, and communicative...but if this thing is ever lost, I am SO in trouble.

Which is why I hid it when the photographer came to our house. 

So there. Now you know how neurotic I am.

La Vida Dulce!

Shocking Turn of Events

Are you sitting down?

I have some news that may be shocking...

I'm disconnecting my computer today.

I have some people coming over to take pictures of our home in preparation of our move, so I am putting away a few items in order to make things look nice.

Well, that, and also I'm not real keen on letting the world wide web privy on all the stuff we have in our house. I'm putting stuff away...

My fingers are shaking and my heart is racing when I think about being without email or the Internet all day. (The shaking may be due to the fact that I haven't had my morning quota of coffee yet. I don't know.)

I will definitely be checking back in later.

Until then...

La Vida Dulce

Sunday, July 20, 2008

True-ism: Criticism - Phil. 4:8

"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Children who are constantly criticized become sad, angry, and miserable. How is your body any different?


This has been an interesting week as I have contemplated criticism. As a matter of fact, I am actually having difficult time putting all the thoughts that have been swirling around my head into words...,but I'll press on!

One of the reasons I chose to write about Comparison (last week) back-to-back with Criticism is because I believe they go hand-in-hand. 

One of my biggest problems with the whole concept of criticism is the idea of "constructive criticism." (which I have mixed feelings about now based on the definition below), but that is for another time.

For the sake of clarification, when I am talking about criticism, it's based on these two definitions:
1.the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
2.  the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.
Of course, we can be critical about all different types of things in our lives, but since the True Campaign is about finding godly truth when relating to body issues I will share an example of this in my life.

One area that has always been the subject of my criticism has been the area from my waist to mid-thigh.  To this day I intentionally pick clothes to keep that area from looking "too hip-y". 

I can tell you the exact moment when I realized I had hips. I was seventeen years old and in a musical with a professional theater company. The costume mistress (CM) was a grouchy, unfriendly (and looking back, most likely a long time anorexic) lady in her mid 50's.  She had been a dancer back in her day, and she was very eager to point out your flaws.

During rehearsals there came a day when we all had to go in for costume fittings. The dreaded day of Weight and Measure.  When CM measured my hips, she looked up at me with disgust and said, "It's not the busty girls I mind, but the hip-y ones." 

Her words were not lost on me, I was very aware of the point she was trying to make. I also caught her critical (and unkind) way of looking at myself.

It didn't stop there.

Her comments and criticism were subtle and constant. Not just to me but to any of the other dancers who weren't rail thin.

Interestingly enough, the saddest part of criticism is that although it may be set aside for a time, it is rarely fully forgotten. It lives inside the deepest places of our hearts, and when it isn't dealt with and replaced with Truth, it will rear its ugly head. Eventually.

Long after my theater days, I found myself at a community pool with my friends and our toddlers.  I remember sitting in the water, watching our children play, and I was also people watching-- Or really I should say I was playing a game of "Watch Other Mom's and Compare Their Body to Yours." 

What I am about to tell you is not one of my proudest moments.

Obviously, there were all sorts of people at this pool of various sizes and shapes. There was a particularly large lady (whom I didn't know) whose hips carried the most of her girth. 

I was surprised when CM's voice popped into my head, It's not the busty girls I mind, but the hip-y ones.

After this lady walked past my friends and I, I remember saying out loud, "There's nothing that will make you feel better about your body than going to a public swimming pool."

That, my friends, is ugly. It hurts my heart to even admit something so openly cruel.

This certainly tells you a little bit about the frame of my mind at that time in my life, and I tell you this only to point out how criticism breeds ugliness. It is bad enough that I would even think these ugly thoughts, much less say them out loud to others. 

When we focus on the negatives in life, and are critical about areas of the body (or areas of our home or lives), it won't be long before we feel free to criticize those who are around us too.

I don't often like being around people who are highly critical of others. It's not fun to be around those who are always looking for flaws that they can point out to make themselves feel better.

I pray that God will help me recognize those critical ways in me (and change it!)...

How do we change a critical spirit?

Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think about things that are positive; things that can make a difference. Things that focus our hearts and minds on the very heart of God. We are to focus our thoughts on that which is lovely. The more we practice this, the easier it will become.

Several years ago I was carrying The Girl. We had been out on a hike and she was very tired. I put her on my back and the weight of her body was resting on my hips.  I remember laughing out loud when I thought to myself that I was actually grateful God had invented hips!  The very thing in life that had caused me such great angst had also been my greatest mothering "tool" throughout those baby carrying years. During those early toddler years I had not been focused on the praiseworthiness of a good hip to hitch a baby on! 

In that moment, I was able to see that it didn't matter what CM had to say about hip-y girls. Her dislike and critical focus on the outward appearance was really her loss. What mattered is that God had created me, with full knowledge, that someday I would be walking through the forest with a five year old hanging on my back! He knew that I would finally see that my hips had been a great help while cooking supper and holding a babies. He knew that there would come a day when I could focus on the excellence of the human body. Of my own womanly body. He knew that someday I would look at the different shapes and sizes around me, both small and larger, and understand that not one of us is ever completely happy with the body we are given. 

Am I still critical of myself? Absolutely. But now I can recognize it a little more quickly and remind myself that criticism very rarely accomplishes what I think it will. Often times it does more harm than good.

All right! Let's move forward. This week we are focusing on God's Love and Isaiah 54:10.

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Morning Moofish Saved My Life

"It's not what you know. It's who you know."

Have you ever heard that saying before?

Well, here at La Vida Dulce, I like to say: "You'll only go as far as your enablers."

And that my friends, is the truth.

Several times on this blog I have written about Generic Products. In the thirteen years that I have been a homemaker I have learned that there are products I won't buy, no matter how cheap it comes.

Yet, I am still but a young grasshopper.

Last month, in an effort to show my willingness to sacrifice in hard economic times, I bought Kirkland brand coffee at Costco. 

I don't know about you, but I buy my coffee in bulk, because around here coffee is about as important as toilet paper. No, I guess I should be honest, I would NEVER forget to buy coffee, because i believe in a little something called "priorities".

Any-way, to save us a whopping $1.02 (ish) I decided to get the Kirkland bucket of coffee, over my Folgers brand @ $12.35.

Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when the Kirkland coffee was actually better!

But, alas, it soon ran dry.

Since I am in the process of what the military handbook refers to as "eating down", I'm doing my best to consume most of what is in my pantry, and buying in bulk defeats that purpose. 

That is why, last week when I was in the Target, I decided that the Target brand coffee would be just as good. Cuz all generics are created equal right? 

Of course I had forgotten that all generics are NOT created equal. 

This is the problem of being an optimist, you tend to forget the things that really need to be remembered.

Y'all. Really. Do NOT buy the Target coffee if you are a lover of coffee. It is awful. 

In my humble opinion, of course.

Why am I telling you this? (Other than this is my party blog and I'll whine if I want to?)

This is why: this morning when I went for a walk with Mrs Moofish, we were actually at a loss for words.

This NEVER happens. Well, sometimes it happens with her, because she doesn't actually talk as much as me. Oh, and also, she doesn't drink coffee (go figure?). But, she can usually hold her own when we're together.

I told her that the root of my non-talking problem was that I'd only been able to drink half the amount of coffee than usual.

I told her my sad tale of generic coffee woe.

And do you know what she did?

She fixed it. Because she is a fabulous friend, and enabler.

She was going to Costco after our walk, however she had been over ambitious on her last Costco trip and actually had a bucket of Folgers just sitting in her pantry, unopened, and available for adoption (or stealing. ) 

She gave it to me, and then I walked across a very busy street carrying 3.5 pounds of deliciousness. I felt so proud. Like I was bringing home 360 cups of gold.

My only complaint was that I didn't have a picture to post for this entry.

Take some really bad advice from an addict aficionado like me: 
You'll only go as far as your enablers...I am proof that you can get pretty far!

La Vida Dulce!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to the Regularly Scheduled Program

There's nothing like transitions to make a routine girl a little off kilter.

Especially when that transition comes while trying to coordinate a move across the country. 

Once I get the first week of school under my belt, I will definitely be posting on a regular schedule!

In the meanwhile, talk to me. How are you internet peeps today?

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Movin' on Up, To The East Side...

...Of the Country.

In the last few months I have hinted around about big things happening in the La Vida Dulce household. 

The Mister and I have been praying over some big decisions that we needed to make since before the New Year. 

I have been wanting to write about them, but because of the sensitive nature of my husbands job, (and the fact that he works for an often slow moving government: and all the military wives said "Amen!") I didn't want to bring y'all in the know until everything was completely official.

If you are new to La Vida Dulce, then you may not know that we are a military family who has moved all across the southern part of the country. Since 1996 we have moved five times. 

In less than seven short weeks, we will move again.

Sixteen months ago we jumped on an opportunity to move to The Desert Town where both The Mister and I had been raised.  We were excited to get back, but we were also very sad to leave our home in North Carolina. 

We knew that this is where we needed to be, and yet were very confused when our house in NC wouldn't sell. We prayed and hoped, but things never worked out the way we planned.

God orchestrated the renting of our NC house to an empty-nester couple who are friends of ours. It worked out perfectly, unlike anything we could have put together our self (as God's plans tend to work). 

I am intentionally being vague when I tell you that after several months of working at this job, it became clear that The Mister didn't want to retire here, so he began to see what opportunities would open up within the next year. 

Imagine our surprise when there was an opportunity in NC, in the same town we had lived in before!

I am excited to tell you that we are moving back to NC in less than seven short weeks.  Back into The House That Would Not Sell; The home I adored.

One of the things that is hard about moving is leaving family and friends behind. There is an excitement on our part to look forward to a new adventure (especially this time when we know a little bit of what that adventure looks like), but we are also awesomely aware that those who are left behind are often left with a void that isn't easily filled. 

Many years ago, when I realized that my marriage would most likely require a lot of moving, I made a decision to make my home "any place The Mister had to go." Because home is not really about where you are living, but who you are living with. 

I believe that this attitude (which came through learning the hard way) is why I have enjoyed friendships all over the country. Getting involved in the lives of others is sometimes painful, and yet it is one of the greatest joys of being a military family.

So now begins what I call the "Time for Goodbyes".  It's a bittersweet time. Although this time it doesn't seem quite so bad because I know I will be back here to visit, whereas the other places we have lived I never knew when the opportunity to go back for visits would come.

It's at times like this that I am grateful for this platform, because things here will be the same...and my friends around the country can still have a cup of coffee with me as they visit the blog...

Now comes the busy time as we plan logistically for another trip across the country. It is certain to bring lots of blogging fodder and excitement!

La Vida Dulce!

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Day

Well, they are both at school. 

At this very moment one of them should be right in the middle lunch. 

It was a good morning, although it wasn't void of wailing and clinging and tears. 

But I'm good now.

I went to the gym with a friend, and then came home to clean, so I've kept busy. Which is good when your a tad bit weepy.

Speaking of busy...before I was a stay at home mom I had visions of lounging in front of soap operas and eating bon-bons.  What ever happened to that?

No really, I'm not a soap opera fan. As a matter of fact my TV is never on during the day...but I used to be a HUGE General Hospital fan in high school and college. I totally could have used TiVO. It wasn't invented way back then, and my VCR wasn't trusty, so in college I would orchestrate my entire school schedule in order to be near a TV by 2pm. 

Ok, sorry...that was like a really scary random memory from my head...what was I saying?

School. Yes. The kids are there and I am here drinking a smoothie and typing away at you. I have managed to get quite a bit accomplished this morning: the kitchen, the living room, and the bathrooms, are all clean and now I just need to finish my lunch, read some of your blogs and go get my little peeps (who aren't so little any more...when in the world did that happen!)

It occurred to me that this year will be my oldest's last year in elementary seems like just yesterday I was hovering outside that kindergarten room. The principle literally patted me on the shoulder and told me to go home. 

Oh the memories...I don't have any Kleenex in the house, and since I accidently forgot a few key items while shopping last week, we are rationing toilet paper...I can't waste it on nose blowing. 

Let's talk about something happy.

Since I have managed to make every single birthday celebration (and subsequent present) late this year, it is appropriate that I missed my 3rd Bloggy Birthday on Saturday July 12th.

It is unimaginable that I have blogged for three full years.

It's on days like today, when I might be tempted to feel sorry for myself, that I am filled with joy over a community whom I dearly love. I was talking to a friend the other day and she said she thought that this blog was like a ministry. That surprised me. Especially since I had received two emails from different people saying the same thing...

(Oh here comes the weepiness again!)

I never really thought about this blog in that way, but I do believe that ministry is being who you are, where you're I guess this qualifies. 

I often find myself typing and wishing I could tell you these things face to face, but I will take what I can get...I am so grateful for the blogging community; both those who are just readers, but also those who are bloggers.

Thank you for reading and sharing your lives through this amazing thing we call social media. It truly makes my Sweet Life, that much sweeter!

La Vida Dulce!

PS: Here are the posts from the last Four July 12ths! 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

True-ism: Comparison (Part 2)

This week we have been looking at Romans 12: 2, 5 & 6.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out.

So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, withouenviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.
The True-ism for this week is: 

When I compare myself with others, I engage 

in a game that has no winners. God, help me 

remember that what matters most is that you 

love me, just as I am.

As you all know, I took a blogging break this week. It was an awesome week because I had the opportunity to spend time with my kids, but also with people I really enjoy. 
There were also moments when I could really be quiet...when I could think.
And listen.
I asked the Lord: How do I make comparisons that tear myself (and others) down, instead of build up?
What the Lord kept bringing to my mind was the time I led worship for Ladies Bible Study in North Texas.  
We went to a very large church. At that time the Women in the Word ministry had at least 250-300 women every Thursday morning for bible study. Through a series of events I ended up on the worship team. 
Eventually the leader of our team stepped down to become a first time mom to three children she adopted internationally. Around that same time the gal who had played the guitar left too (Hi CWD!) and I was appointed leader.
I had had a lot of musical experience in my life but I knew that I wasn't exactly "qualified" to be a worship leader. At the time I didn't play the guitar and I had little knowledge of what it took to lead worship for such a large group of women. 
If ever there was a time to compare, this was it. 
However, I was way too busy trying to figure out what I was going to I prayed.
God sent us an amazing piano player (we'll call her J), who not only could play in all styles, but was familiar with all types of music, both contemporary and traditional. She also had a degree in music and played at least four different instruments, so she was able to teach me things I needed to know.
God also sent J's friend, E, who was an amazing bass player. She would come in and quietly play. She was fun and friendly and laid back. She lent a calm to the group.
Then there was our other E, who sang harmony to my melody (and occasionally played guitar.) Apart we were both decent singers, but together, we were amazing (if I do say so myself!)
After a while I began to dream of finding a girl drummer. God then sent EW to our Girl Band. EW would come to practice and I would say, "I want this song to have percussion, but since I can't even sing and clap my hands at the same time, you're pretty much on your own." She would look at me and say, "OK" and she would make up these rhythms that were awesome!
Together, the five of us were amazing. There wasn't a Thursday that someone didn't comment on how they loved the worship portion of bible study. 
Now that I have boldly boasted about our team...I am not being modest when I tell you that it wasn't because of my vast worship-leading skills that made us the team we were. It was because God had a plan. 
By now you may be asking yourself what any of this has to do with comparison? 
The truth in this situation was that I knew that I had no control. I knew that I could not play piano. I knew that I could not play bass. As a melody-singing soprano I could not sing those rich alto harmonies, and I certainly could not play the drums! 
I love the Roman passage above, especially the last sentence: 
...let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, withouenviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.
You know, in this situation it would have been easy to look at the talents I didn't have as "defects", or problems that kept me from being a One Woman Show. 
For example, I could have come in and sat down at that piano and asked God why, (after taking three years of first year piano and literally making my piano teacher cry), I never learned to play? 
I could have sat at that drum set and crossed my arms in ungrateful willfulness that I had not been given the gift of rhythm. 
I could have cried out to the heavens that it was unfair that I could not sing harmonies and melodies at the same time! 
I could have held a grudge that I couldn't carry a strong, solid bass for every situation in my life.
I could have (and in other areas of my life I most certainly have!)...but I didn't, because I knew that these were not things that I could fix
I knew that these gifts and talents were not something I could muster up, paint on, or fit into. 
I knew this situation was way out of my control.
I had no choice but to "go ahead and be what I was made to be". In this particular situation I was to be a soprano with some leadership skills. 
God took care of the rest.
This week I was reading a devotional I was given a long time ago called "Let Go" by Fenelon
It's a series of forty spiritual letters.
The title of Letter 13 was so very appropriate for me this week: 

Despair  at Our Imperfections Is A
Greater Obstacle Than the
Imperfection Itself

Here is the gist of Fenelon's letter:
"...when we concentrate on our defects, forgetting that Jesus loves us, we become restless, the presence of God is interrupted, and the flow of God's love is hindered. The humiliation we feel about our own defects can often be a greater fault than the original defect itself if it keeps you from moving into the realization of God's love."
Last week I mentioned that Comparisons happen in every area of our lives. Never was this more true for me than when my focus was on my physical appearance. I couldn't walk into a room without wondering what I looked like; without comparing myself to those who were in the room with me. I couldn't have a normal conversation with someone because I was too busy thinking about myself.
Comparison is the quickest road to failure. It's a forked path. One way leads to Discontent. The other leads to sister-cities: Never Starting or Quitting
Both roads lead to Nowhere.
My challenge for you (as you continue to think on Comparison) is to focus on those things in life that God has given you, and also to become more aware of how God uses those "defects" by allowing others in your life and ministry to compliment you. 
Allowing God to use your gifts and talents alongside someone else's gifts and talents is a blessing, if we can get our heads out of ourselves. 
I pray that you can identify area's in your life that you use comparison as a motivation to change into something your weren't created to be, and instead ask God to motivate you towards His plan for your life! I pray that you will not "let yourself get taken up with the lesser of the two!" (Fenelon)
***I would love to know what your thoughts are on comparison! If you choose to write please sign up under Mr Linky! Also, in this next week we are focusing on Criticism and Phil. 4:8. Join us!