Friday, August 29, 2008

If you don't hear from me in a while....'s because I am cleaning out my pantry, and I am pretty sure something is alive in there.

Since I am procrastinating I think I will take a random poll.  

When you run out of something, like say chocolate chips, or a gallon of milk, or some some important ingredient from a recipe you are making, do you send your husband to the store to go get it? 

I can literally say that in 13 years of marriage I haven't ever asked The Mister to go out and get something for me last minute (he may read this post and remember for me, but I don't think I have.) It just never occurred to me to do so. If we don't have an ingredient, I either don't make it or I go get it myself (although this very rarely going to get it, not my running out of something needed).

I was talking to my cousin the other night. She is in her second trimester of her first pregnancy and we were laughing about her crazy cravings, which are not so much about crazy foods, but crazy times she wants those foods. For instance, she was craving the banana bread late one night. Not just any old banana bread but the one made from her great grandmothers recipe. This recipe makes A LOT of bread, and she only had so many bread pans, so she sent her husband to the grocery store at 11:30 at night to buy another bread pan.

OK, I would never have done that. And I'm pretty sure The Mister wouldn't have been too keen on going to the store in the middle of the night either.  This of course got me wondering if the The Mister and I are abnormal? (that's sort of rhetorical question, we are quite secure in our abnormal-ness. For the most part.) 

Anyway, that is why I am polling y'all. Do you run out and get items needed, or do you send your husband. I want to know your thoughts on this. I am also asking this because the blog has been eerily quiet this week and I am starting to get a complex. 

Talk to me!

All right. All right!! I am going back to the pantry now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coffee and Conversation

Last night Stephanie J and I met to have a coffee and tea together. 

I met Stephanie through ladies bible study at the church we attended.  

One of the things about living in a military town is that I have had the opportunity to meet other military wives. Steph is one of them, and her family moved here around the same time we did.

We met at the local coffee shop where, unbeknownst to us, a man was scheduled to talk about how he had travelled around the world twice and wrote a book about it.  As we began to settle into our table to chat, this man stood up and started talking to the crowd that gathered in the shop.  I tried to talk quietly over what he was saying, but in the end we picked up our stuff and found chairs outside.

We talked of everything from family to finances, and many things in between. I was sad to hear the lock turn on the coffee shop, a warning that our evening was coming to an end.

Living a nomadic military life is one that is sometimes difficult. When you move from place to place it's hard; hard on the family who is moving, and hard for those who get left behind. 

But saying goodbye to Stephanie was different, because she has done this before. As an often moving, husband supporting, military wife, she has walked in my shoes. When we said goodbye, I hugged her twice, because I know she was thinking the same things as myself: Saying goodbye is the hardest part of military life.  

As I drove home I was thinking about that man who had written a book because he had travelled the world (twice). He was telling a room full of people how he had "discussed life with Masai tribesman, drank tea with Beijing rickshaw drivers, learned Buddhism from a monk in the Indian Himilayas."  How great it is that he was able to talk with people around the world, and come home to write a book. But how much better is it that God saw to it to remove me from my own comfort zone 13 years ago and send me around the country to discuss life with real women, to drink coffee with sweet gals, and learn from each one through laughter and tears; and then, at the end of the day I get to go home knowing that these women are my friends.

There is not enough paper in the world to write a book...His life may have been exciting, but it couldn't possibly be as rich as mine.

This morning I am going to visit two gals whom I love just as much as the friends I write about on this blog (both this week and in the past!): my hair stylist, Melissa, and my anesthetist (she gives me facials), Elizabeth. 

Today I get my last beauty treatment in the desert and I am REALLY looking forward to it.

I could use some prayer though...last night while talking to Stephanie I could feel my body starting to ache like I was trying to catch something. This morning I don't feel any better. This is not a good time for me to be getting sick!  If you are of the praying type, please send one up for me!

La Vida Dulce!

PS: If you haven't clicked over yet, Stephanie also has a blog! Would you go over and tell her hello!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


These are the Gym Rats.  

For the last 18 months I have worked out three mornings a week with (starting from your left) K, Kn, and P.  

They are a really fun group of gals and just happen to live in my neighborhood. The Gym isn't really close to us, so I was shocked to find out that we all live within a quarter mile of each other.

K is really someone who brings people together. As a matter of fact I remember the day she came up to me in the gym and gave me a compliment about my legs.  Then she invited me to lunch and the rest is history. 

I'm sort of like a cat: stroke my ego and feed me some lunch, and, for all intents and purposes, your stuck with me.

K and her family are planning to visit NC in the spring and she asked if we might get the to families together so that our husbands could actually meet. What I didn't know is that she had planned a surprise Good Bye party/bbq Sunday evening. It was so fun!

The picture below best describes how things look when we are at the gym: Laughing! These gals have made working out F.U.N!  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring, Why Aren't I Snoring?

It's 5:30 am on Tuesday morning and I was just about to walk out the door to meet Mrs Moofish for a walk. 

But she just called, and it's raining outside. It's a true, honest to goodness rain that is slow and steady. And quiet.

Very quiet. 

So quiet that I have been up for the last half hour, had my first cup of coffee, got dressed, put my contacts in, and sat down to read email to wake up, all while it was raining outside and I didn't even know it!

There is no chance of going back to bed, so this is the perfect time to blog!

Before I tell you about my dinner with girlfriends on Saturday night, I want to tell you about a dream I had...

This should probably be a post all by itself, entitled, "How You Know When The Blog Has Taken Over Your Life."

I had a dream that I had put up a site meter on my bedroom. I was excited to tell The Mister that in one day we had had 84 visits to our bedroom!

When I woke up and told The Mister about my funny dream, he said in his best Soup Nazi voice "No blogging for you, seven days!" 

I still giggle about that crazy dream!

OK. About Saturday night....
These are gals I have known for over twenty years. J is in the black, T is in the pink, and L is in the blue. We were all in church choir together.

It all started out back in the day (before I could drive, when L had preschool aged children). L is THE piano player extraordinaire and she happened to play the piano at the church I grew up in. For many years I went to Thursday night choir practice and she was always at the piano.

Our relationship was born of necessity: She needed a babysitter and I need a good piano player to help prepare for auditions. Along the way we became good friends.

Her two oldest are in college now (yes, I am that old) and she is still playing piano.

T is a newlywed and this was our first dinner in the new home she shares with her hubby. She made some killer Cheesy Mostaccoli and it was fun to be in her home, and see her doing things that married ladies do! Way back in the day T was also my boss, my choir buddy, and when I was in college and had to do a dramatic monologue, she listened to me practice from Antigone about a thousand times! 

J is a single mom to two boys. She entered into single parenting intentionally when her heart was moved to adoption. Sometimes things aren't easy for her, as motherhood often goes, but she is an exceptional mother.  

J and I, both sopranos, sat together at practice. Which wasn't always a good thing, because she enjoys a good laugh. We would often find ourselves in a fit of giggling. Even on Saturday night I said something that caught her funny bone and she giggled throughout the evening.

These gals are great because often long bits of time will pass without any communication, but when we do get together it is like no time has passed at grow, people marry, one of us keeps moving from place to place, but our friendship is consistent!

J, T and L, I had a great time on Saturday! 

La Vida Dulce!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ladies Who Lunch...uh, Dinner?

This weekend was really fun. I have had the opportunity to spend time with people I care about; with whom I have enjoyed friendship.  

This week, I will be posting about these gals. 

Today we start with Darcie.

We went to dinner together on Friday night and checked out a new restaurant in our little neighborhood. The food was good, but the best part of evening was when we both got carded! After dinner, we weren't quite ready to go home yet, so we drove over a coffee shop that had live music playing in the parking lot. We were both quite full from our dinner, and hadn't any desire for dessert or hot beverages at eight in the evening so we rolled down the windows of her car and talked in the parking lot, while listening to the music in the background. It was a very happy evening.

I have not known Darcie very long, and yet I feel very comfortable with her. Maybe it's because we are like minded in many ways. Maybe it's because we share a birthday (although she's a spring chick!). Or maybe it's because when it comes to "girls night," we aren't high maintenance; whatever it is, I am so glad that this crazy little blog was able to bring friendship in real and tangible way!

La Vida Dulce!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

True-ism: Thankfulness - 1 Chronicles 16:34

1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.

Thank you Father for my eyes that see, my ears that hear, my legs that dance, my arms that hug, and my heart that beats for you!


OK True Campaigners, today wraps up eight full weeks of focusing on the Truth! Thank you for reading my thoughts each week. The True Campaign and the True-ism's are a starting point for re-directing the way we think about who we truly are!

These last eight weeks have been such a labor of love for me. It has been difficult to write these deeply personal thoughts and put them out in such a visible forum. And yet, writing these thoughts out has been a great way for me to work out issues that are still such a big part of my life. 

My hope was to influence those who read my blog to seek Truth, but God knew that these issues are still ones I desperately needed to work on. Although I am leaps and bounds away from sickly behavior and unhealthy trends, I still must constantly be aware of the "snare that traps" (Josh 23:13) I wish I could tell you in detail the things the Lord has taught me through these True-isms. But there isn't enough time, and some things are best left unsaid.

However, no one needed these last eight weeks of True-isms more than me. 

God has so graciously made up for the years the locusts had eaten (Joel 2:25), and not just due to the body issues, but also with other issues in my life.  These truths makes me ultra-aware that I am nothing, if not dependent on God and who He says I am! His love truly endures for ever! 

I am thankful that I am healthy and well; That I have a body that is strong; That I can exercise and enjoy fitness without being obsessive. 

I am thankful that I can go to dinner with friends and family without being consumed with what I will order, and whether or not that will change the numbers on the scale.

I am thankful that those "number" do not govern my thoughts and days anymore.

I am thankful that I have a husband who loves me unconditionally; has endured being late because I couldn't decide what to wear, and has lovingly and consistently redirected my thoughts when confronted with the "Do I look fat in this outfit" question.  

I am thankful that I can truly live life, when I am focused on God and His truth! And, finally I am thankful that God has made it that I must remain humble and dependent upon Him, lest I find myself back in that eating disordered trap. 

Although this ends the weekly posts on True-ism, I am certain this isn't the last time you will hear about True Campaign on this blog. I have a few things in mind that I will post in the weeks and months ahead, including a post scheduled for sometime in October from The Mister's perspective, because eating issues are not private matters, they greatly interrupt the lives of those we are closest to as well.

I would love to hear from you. Did you sign up for the True Campaign even though you weren't sure you wanted to? Do you have any questions? Have the True-isms brought you to a place where you are seeing God's truth more than ever? What are you giving thanks for? 

La Vida Dulce!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This...and That

I feel completely behind in my blog reading.  

If I haven't commented on your blogs, but you know I have been there, please don't take it personally!  I have your blogs saved in my reader and plan to spend a couple hours this weekend to "visit". 

Among our preparation to move across the country, the school situation has changed for The Boy and The Girl, and last week I started them in a homeschooling program. 

Uh, meaning that I am now a homeschooling mom. 

I never, in a million years, thought I would be doing this.  As a matter of fact 6 years ago when we started in this whole School Aged Children stage, I said, "I will never home school.... I am just too "social" for home school...Homeschooling is a lifestyle"...blah, blah, blah.

Well, sometimes (more often than not for me) we find ourselves doing things we thought we would never do. 

And here I am.

To make a very long and stressful story short and sweet, we were unable to get the kids into the same school they attended last time we lived in NC. The other choices we had were either not ones we could live with, or weren't accepting new students, so homeschooling became our answer for this year. In the spring we will re-evaluate and see what the next year will bring.

After much research and reading (and prayer!) I found a literature based curriculum called Sonlight, and after two weeks of schooling we are all enjoying it. We are studying American History and looking forward to living in a state where so much of our early history took place (or is very close!).

To keep in compliance with NC laws I pulled the kids out of school here in the desert so that I could get an early start to the homeschool year. This not only lends extra time with extended family here, but will give us some breathing room as we make our way across the country in the days to come. 

So, this is the reason why I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front.  I am busy teaching The Boy and The Girl all about Native Americans and Christopher Columbus and reading about Pocahontas and remembering what a predicate is...

Fractions anyone? Oy!

I do want to take a second to tell you a few things that I am so excited about:

First, I'm a button!!!!
Jo-Lynne whipped up this adorable little button for me so that you can have have a little piece of La Vida Dulce of your very own.

Just what you have always wanted, huh?

Second, I'm international!!!

I was so excited when JanMary made not one, but two comments this week!  Hi JanMary!  As a matter of fact, it's her birthday. Click on over and wish her a good one won't ya?

OK, I should run. We have "P.E." today at Grannie and Paws swimming pool this afternoon. I am secretly hoping that they will also be serving lunch today. 

La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

With the Olympics, Everyday is Saturday:

A Very Random Post!

Sometimes, when there isn't anything worth while to watch on TV, I turn the sports on. I don't watch them, because sports on TV (other than basketball) is kind of boring to me. But as background noise, I think sports are GLORIOUS!  

I don't know if it brings back nostalgia from childhood memories, or if the extrovert in me just likes to hear people, but nothing can make me feel like a Saturday more than sports droning on in the back ground.

I realized that NBC was broadcasting the Olympics all day, so I have had it quietly playing while I make lunch or am doing something mundane and it has been quite refreshing. Everyday can be a Saturday during the Olympics!

OK, now I am going to talk about something completely random, but I just finished a small box of Junior Mints so my brain is on over-drive.

When I cleaned out my closet yesterday I did it while watching The Queen.  I had heard that that movie was awesome but I was reluctant. I had no idea it was set in 1997 in the wake of Princess Diana's death. 

It is with a bit of shyness that I tell you that I was a HUGE Diana fan.  My mother woke me up at 3 am to watch her wedding via live satellite.  I think I was nine years old and I remember it like it was yesterday.

The morning she died, almost 11 years ago. I was nine months pregnant and watched the news coverage for days.

Anyway, my love for Diana isn't what it was in those little girl years, but if I had known that The Queen was set in modern day I would have picked it up sooner! It was good! And it totally took my mind off of my dusty, cluttered (although now clean!) closet!

PS: My Mom bought the book pictured below for me after Diana married. I had forgotten I had it, but when I unpacked one of those unpacked boxes I wrote about yesterday, it was in there. 

I thought it was interesting that I found it while watching The Queen. I will admit, I decided not to give it away.

And of course I had to take a picture of it, right there, in the closet, and propped up on my shoes.

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Confessions of a Career Relocater

Is that a word: Relocater?

Oh well, you know what I mean.

In anticipation of The Movers coming and packing up all our stuff I have been systematically cleaning out and organizing.  

And for someone who doesn't have a lot stuff, we sure have a lot of stuff!

I decided to tackle my bedroom closet this week.  You won't believe what I found.

There were six boxes I never unpacked after our move 17 months ago!

Out of those six boxes, three had had never been opened from the TX to NC move over three years ago. I actually had to get a box cutter to open the packaging tape!

Yesterday, and this morning, I have opened, unpacked, and thrown away many things from those boxes. Obviously, when you can go three (+) years without opening boxes, chances are you don't need what's inside. Do you think?

My closet was so unorganized that it bordered on criminal. 

The nice thing is that it feels good to get rid of things that I didn't even know I had!


What's next on the list?  My Desk. The Boy's room and The Car. After that it's the refrigerators and the pantry. The Girls Room was done this weekend.

After that I am going to sit down and gaze upon the organization that moving produces, because I seriously hope this will be the last time I see it.

La Vida Dulce!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

True-ism: Fear and Wonder - Psalm 139:14

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. So stop being so fearful and express some wonder at how incredible God made you.


This is a quilt I just finished for a new baby named Alexandra.

She was actually born in the spring but because of scheduled projects and time constraints I procrastinated.

Actually, I had an idea in my head as to what I wanted to do for little Alexandra, but fear stopped me. I had all the material (scraps from previous projects), but the idea of an actual quilt held me back. What if the final project doesn't turn out the way it appears in my head? What if I can't get all those little squares to line up perfectly? What if...?

I think that it was God's providence that I was to create this quilt this week as I contemplated Fear and Wonder and Psalm 139:14. 

I thought about how easy it is to have fear and wonder around the event that is childbearing and babies. Just getting pregnant is an act of God! The whole reproductive process that takes place within the womb is wonderfully and fearfully creative! 

After nine months a sweet child is born. This child is the very face of hope! Who will she be? What will she do? Her future is wide open. 

New beginnings always fill us with optimism.

So it goes with fear and wonder while experiencing new life. We can easily look at others and see the work of God.

The thing is that God's creative wonders don't stop after we are born. They continue. 

He created us each uniquely.

I was thinking about this as I read about Michael Phelps this week. His body is perfectly fashioned for moving through the water, and yet not everything has been "perfect". Having been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, his single mother sought to find a way to burn off the extra energy that flowed through his body.

God obviously knew what He was doing when he created the world's greatest swimmer in history thus far.  What our culture might consider a "disability" or a "problem", has actually served a greater purpose.  

God's creative fear and wonder is not just reserved for world-class Olympians, but is also at work in you. In me. 

All God's works are wonderful.

This week as I was sewing I began to experience the joy that comes from creating. As the 5x5 pieces of scraps began to look like the quilt I'd envisioned, I began to get excited. I was able to get a microscopic glimpse of what God must feel when He creates something so much more important: human life.

In light of all these thoughts, I began to think about ways in which I allow my fear to stifle who I am; how I allow too much focus on things that I don't enjoy about myself become roadblocks to the praise God deserves for making me unique. I often allow thoughts of self to get in the way of what God has created me to be and to do.

I can be just as excited about the things that make me who I am today, as I am about the hope and promise I see when I look in the eyes of a baby. 

If you are following along in the True Campaign I would love to hear what God has taught you on the subject of Fear and Wonder. 

For those of you who are new to the blog, especially those who may have found this blog through the True Campaign I would love you to hear from you.

And as always, for those who are lurking (and I don't mind that you are!), but have wanted to be a part of the True Campaign I encourage you to go sign up for the True updates.

La Vida Dulce!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sunset Picnic

I had really wanted to drive out to a National Monument in the desert and get some sunset pictures. 

The Mister tried to get home as quickly as he could so we wouldn't miss the sunset, and I tried to have our standard picnic dinner (fresh french bread, cheese, strawberries, and grapes) packed and ready.

Unfortunately, we missed the sunset before we could get high enough in the desert to get any good shots. 

We did, however, get to see something I have NEVER seen in the wild before. Actually, I am grateful I haven't seen this in the wild. But last night in the safety of our mini-van I was thrilled to see him:

This was a 2.5 ft long Diamondback Rattlesnake that was relaxing on the side of the road. This road is a loop that only goes in one direction so we were able to drive around him without disturbing him, and yet get within a foot him so I could lean out the passenger window and get these close-ups! (thank in part to the zoom lense)

It reminded me of when I was kid and my mom would pile my brothers and I into her 87 Toyota Celica convertible after a monsoon rain to go "tarantula hunting." Male tarantulas go out after a rain to find love, so we would go out to see what we could see. Of course the male arachnids are really huge, and some nights we would see many, many spiders as we drove through the desert.

Last night we also saw a ton of lizards (they were too fast for pictures) and we also saw a deer. 

Although we missed the best of the sunset, we saw a really good show!

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Embarrassing Moment

Yesterday I took my car to get an oil change.

While the kids and I waited on the car, we had lunch across the parking lot at the local diner with my mom and dad.

When I called the Fix-It Shop to make my appointment I noticed that the phone number was almost the exact same number as The Mister's work number: 

Fix It Shop: 555-0003

The Mister's Office: 555-3000*

The Mister had called me while I was waiting in the diner for my parents to arrive. He doesn't call me everyday so I was glad to hear from him. 

We had a lovely lunch, during which the lady from the Fix-It shop called to tell me my car would soon be ready.

We left the diner, said good-bye to my parents and headed across the parking lot to pick up the car.

Before I could reach the front door of the Fix-It shop, I hear my dad honk his horn at me. At the same time my phone is ringing. I pull the phone out, look at the caller ID, see that it says 555-0003. I am excited to see that The Mister is calling. He never calls twice in one day, so I'm thrilled to get to talk to him again. Meanwhile, my mom is trying to tell me something. I quickly listen to her, and then say into the cell phone, "Hi Honey! What's up!" in a cheery and happy-to-hear-you-kind of tone.

There is pregnant pause on the other end of the phone before I hear a strange voice say, "Uh, this is Tim, from the Fix-It shop. Your car is ready."

Yes, world, swallow me now.

I walked into the lobby and told Tim that the phone numbers were so close and I thought he was my husband. He laughed and told me that he thought I was just really friendly. 

It could have been much, much worse.

Often times when The Mister calls me I'll pick up the phone and say, "Lana's love shack. Lana speaking."

You don't know how grateful I hadn't said that!

Happy Friday!

*numbers changed for post

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Baby" Brother

My cousin Alyssa took this picture of me and my youngest brother Dan while we were dancing together at the wedding.

Everybody likes Dan. 

Including me.

He is one of those guys that is super easy to hang out with and be yourself.

I was six years older than Dan, so by the time he was old enough to be interesting I was onto other things.  When he reached high school, I had already married, moved away and started a family. 

It's fun getting to know him as an adult. 

I love this picture because we're having fun, which isn't hard to do when you hang out with him. 

We have always had one of those relationships that is heavy with sibling teasing. I basically talk big-sister smack, and then runaway! Because unlike those years when he was a kid, he can now get me in a head lock, or thrown me over a shoulder, or pin me down with one hand.  But I still think I'm faster, so running is the best option. Of course, I could just quit picking on him, but what fun is that?

So, that's my "baby" brother. 

Thanks for the picture Alyssa!

La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Favorite Things: An Overcast Day

I live in a city that gets a lot of sun. 

According to several online resources, the average days of sunshine per year is between 300 and 350+ .  So when a day like today occurs, we desert dwellers enjoy it. Well, at least this desert dweller does.

When I woke up this morning it was overcast and cool. It's the kind of morning that makes you want to brew an extra pot of coffee and have your friends over for a bite of something homemade. 

It's the kind of morning that whispers ideas of sitting under a blanket and reading all day long. 

It's the kind of morning when I am tempted to skip the gym, the housework, and the correspondence.

Not to avoid people, or places or things. But to enjoy what almost never comes.

I know there are places where this kind of day is the rule, not the exception. I'm not sure I could live in a place with day after day of dark skies. But today, it makes me happy.

Speaking of happy....

I ran out of fiction books to read.  Which is like running out of coffee in this house. I am hesitant to borrow from the library right now because of the move, so I perused my book shelf. I think I am going to start the Mitford series all over again. 

Yes, clouds and Mitford. 

Could it get any better?

Happy day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I thought I would take this quiet lull in the day to say hello!

Things here are much the same: the laundry, the work, the hanging out with people.

And yet big changes are happening as I type, and more change is certain in the days to come. 

Moving from place to place tends to work that way. 

With only three weeks left until the moving van comes, all moments become reflective ones, as I anticipate doing things "one last time".  It's in these last weeks that I always consider time with people more precious, because I know that "time" will soon not be a luxury to enjoy as I choose. 

In many ways I think that this prospective is a good one for me to have. I should always live as if time is of the essence. But on the flip side, living that way is exhausting. It's a lot like love in it's first days: exciting and good, but very tiring!

Early morning walks with friends, working out at the gym, watching beautiful Arizona sunsets...these are things I am looking at with a new set of eyes. 

La Vida Dulce!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

True-ism: Acceptance - Ephesians 3:20

Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Body Acceptance is a commitment to treat my body with respect, even when there are things I don't like about it. God, please help me to work with my body instead of against it, for your glory.


I will admit that the True-ism of Acceptance is a little difficult for me. 

I have contemplated what Body Acceptance would look like to me, should I implement it on a day to day basis. Especially on those days when I wake up and know my head isn't on right; those days when I don't like how I look in any of my clothes, or regret what I ate the day before, or when I am feeling particularly insecure, or let "numbers" dictate how I feel.

For me, acceptance boils down to two things: gratitude and trust.

The Lord has been speaking to me through Ephesians in a big way this week. I love the New Living Translation: 

Now all glory to God, who is able, 
through his mighty power at work within us, 
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Somehow I have confused "all glory to God," with "all glory for me".  I have a beautiful life: an amazing husband, beautiful kids, a body that is strong and healthy, family and friends that support and love me. Yet I haven't done a thing to "earn" all these good things . I did not "make" them. 

God has shown His amazing craftsmanship in my life, and continues to do so. He has given me things that I never even thought to ask for! And yet...

Often my ingratitude is palpable, and shamefully apparent. Ingratitude changes the way I view the world. It changes the way I view myself. It leads me to view myself in light of my culture, instead of in the mighty power that is at work in me.

When I can look at my life and see God's amazing blessings, you'd think I'd have no problem with trust. But the truth is that there is often a great pit of distrust that I live in, and convince myself that I feel at home. I fight the Lord on issues of trust more often than I care to admit. 

I love The Message translation of Eph 3:20

He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, 
his spirit deeply and gently.
(emphasis mine)

When I have distrust in the Lord I can usually identify it by my lack of gentleness, with myself and others; by my need to control; my propensity to push things around to make sure I get my way.  

I thought it was interesting to ponder the True-ism definition of Body Acceptance this week:

Body Acceptance is a commitment to treat my body with respect,
even when there are things I don't like about it.

This statement made me see the harsh reality of what I have been willing to do to fit the worlds mold of acceptance. There was a time when under-eating, over exercising, and using weight loss products that are harmful to the body were just a few of the ways I tried to work against my body, instead of with it. I tried to force my body to conform to standards that don't exist without sacrificing very important things in life, and certainly aren't glorifying to God!

Those days of harsh treatment of the body are behind me, but there are still days when harsh thoughts about the body are still alive and active.

Body acceptance is a commitment. It's a willingness to be grateful, and respectful, of what God has given me. It's a willingness to take care of my body in a way that is glorifying to my Creator. It's about trusting God, and following His way, which isn't pushy, or self-seeking. 

It's about remembering that life is so much more than what I look like on the outside, but is "far more than I could ever imagine or guess or request in my wildest dreams!"

Oh Lord! That I might bring you glory. That I would work with you instead of against you!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Buttons, Buddies, and Backpacking

Happy Friday!

First, I was happy to receive an email from Travis Stewart, the co-founder of the True Campaign. Last month when I met with him and Constance I had mentioned that I would love a True Campaign button to go on my side bar.  

Not only did he make one, he made two! I think they are beautiful. 
If you are a True Campaigner and you would like to use these on your blog, you are welcome to download them. 

Also, if you haven't signed up to be a part of the True Campaign I'd encourage you to do so. Signing up gives The True Campaign Team the opportunity to occasionally send you updates on what's going on and where things are headed in the future! It's going to be exciting so come on and join us! 

Second, I am so happy that this week is over! This was the  l-o-n-g-e-s-t  w-e-e-k because The Mister has been on an eight day backpacking trip to Snowmass Peak in Colorado

He needed this trip in the worst way. Work has been stressful for quite some time and he enjoys putting a whole weeks worth of food, water and clothing on his back and walking uphill. He calls it "getting perspective". I'm thinking I could find other ways to "get perspective" but I love him just the same. 

I don't think it is quite possible to have missed him more than I have missed him this week. As a matter of fact on Wednesday I prayed all day long for God's protection over him. 

Ever since I read the stories about the guy who got pinned under a boulder and had to cut off his own arm, (and this guy who was pinned by a boulder and lost his life) it's been difficult to keep my thoughts and fears under control when The Mister goes on these trips. The Lord must get some good chuckles over me sometimes; Obsessively  consistently praying that boulders or bears won't get my man. I hadn't heard from him in almost a week, which I knew would happen, but in the middle of the nights (and into the day!) I would worry.

God was merciful to me and opened up the cell coverage so The Mister had five seconds of good cell phone reception on top of that mountain this morning. Most times cell phones don't work in the areas The Mister hikes; not to mention taking a phone defeats the purpose of going into the wild. He called and let me know that all is well, and that he hadn't been eaten by a bear, and that he still has both arms. 

Of course I was volunteering at the school so I missed the phone call, but hearing his strong and familiar voice over the machine was enough to assuage my fears. He sounded good, for a man who has just hiked 40 miles of mountain. He sounded like he has grown quite a beard, needs a good shower, and can't wait to get home to see his family.  ;)

Hurry home honey! We can't wait to see you. Oh, and stay clear of boulders.

As a last hurrah before The Mister returns, my buddies are coming over for dinner. It will be an Olympic theme as we dine on foods from across the world: Eggrolls (representing China), Taquitos (representing Mexico), Stuffed mushrooms (representing Italy), and chocolate (representing Belgium).

It's the four basic food groups. The dinner of champions!

La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thinking in the Rain

Well, I'm not actually in the rain, but as I type it's raining outside.

It's fantastic.

This week is going so slow. Does anyone else feel that way? 

Maybe it's because I haven't seen much of The Mister this week. I am missing him. 

Maybe it's because sleep hasn't come so easily in the last couple of weeks, which makes the days feel longer.

Who knows, but whatever it is, I cannot believe it's only Wednesday! 

I've been in a bloggers slump recently. Not sure why. 

I hope it doesn't last as long as my cooking slump. 

Have a mentioned I have been in a cooking slump?  It's not a rut. Well, on second thought, it might be that too. I've been in this slump/rut for a long time now. Maybe even as long as a year.

Anyway, I used to be super organized about meal planning, and shopping, and yadda, yadda, yadda, and somehow, it just stopped. 

Now I just buy a big bag of Costco frozen chicken and use the same four recipes over and over in a mix and match type style with carbs and veggies, and the same old salad.  It's boring, but it's what's for dinner.  

My kids have been complaining about this rut for a very long time now. 

The Mister never complains about what I cook for the family.  Even when it's not my best, he eats it happily. 

That is a quality I love so much about him. 

I could feed him saltines with peanut butter for the next twenty years and he'd be fine. He has many talents and abilities, but he can't cook, so he's grateful to eat what I fix.

When I was talking to him about my cooking rut he offered to get me a subscription to Cooking Light for some inspiration. He knows I love that magazine.

Have a mentioned lately how cute The Mister is?

Back to the rut.  What do you do in a cooking rut? Do you ride it out and hope for better days? How do you find motivation to get back in the kitchen groove? 

OK, that's enough thinking in the rain...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program...

This morning I couldn't bear the thought of running inside on the treadmill, so I leashed up Kona the Wondermutt and decided to run intervals at the local park.
While walking towards the park I noticed two animal control vehicles slowly driving around the neighborhood. I made a note to keep Kona on the leash. 

On my first loop through the park trail (which meanders through a bit of desert) I saw a mom and dad playing with their toddler on the playground equipment, while their German Shepherd looked on. 

On the second loop around I noticed that this sweet family was high-tailing it out the park like their was a wild animal on the loose. 

Turns out, their is...

The young mom approached me and told me that they had just been informed by park officials that a mountain lion had been spotted in the park only an hour before.

I decided to take the same course of action and head home as well. 

I figure that a girl running with her dog might look like a good breakfast to a Mountain Lion. 

It's just as well, it's way too hot outside for running anyway.

Funny thing: When The Girl was two or three years old she used to say this phrase to The Mister every morning before he left for work: 

Be careful! There's a lot of mean cats and dogs out there!

I have no idea where she picked it up, but to this day The Mister and I say that to each other when the other is leaving the house.

Who knew that one day we might say that to each other and really mean it!

La Vida Dulce!

Fall Feeling

One of the weird phenomenon of being schooled under the traditional schedule is that I always had "fall feelings" shortly after school started.

Last summer, and now this summer too, I have had to adjust my inner-school-girl clock. My kids may be on a year round school schedule, but somehow my inner workings, deep inside my mind is still on traditional time.

Let me explain, last week when it was 104 degrees outside I had a sudden urge to make pumpkin bread. Because that's what you do after the kids have been in school for a month: you get ready for fall. 

I had to remind myself that, hello? It's still July outside. 

My mind keeps urging me to think about hay bails, and the red and orange house decorations, and soup and gingerbread coffee.

Fall. It's my favorite season. 

All this week I kept telling myself not to rush things. If I anticipate the fall too early, I'll miss all the summer fun...but then again the kids are in school, and what kind of fun is summer when there aren't any kids around to hang out with?

But I digress.

Anyway, I was at Target today. (Yes, again.) I was pushing my shopping cart around looking at various items, while thinking about how great it will be to have a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte sometime in the next few months. 

 I was thinking to myself: knock if off with the fall-time thoughts already, when I walked by a display of Halloween t-shirts.


No wonder I can't stop thinking about fall! The Fourth of July Sparklers haven't yet lost their heat and the Target is trying to sell me long sleeve Halloween t-shirts that have the word Spooky emblazoned across the chest? In the first week of August? When the tank top and flip-flops feel like too much clothing?

Yes, spooky indeed.

Now, where's my latte?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Home Alone

Good Morning True Campaigners

I haven't forgotten about you, but my post on True-ism: Acceptance will be postponed until next week.

On top of an already (overly) full week, I have done lots of reading and research on a project I am working on right now. Last week I read five non-fiction books.  Whew! I didn't even know I could do such a thing!

Anyway, I hope to have a nice True-ism post next week. So stay tuned.

On another topic, I did something last night that I haven't ever done in my life: I stayed home alone. Like, without my husband, or kids.  

The Mister was out of town this weekend, and the kids were at sleepovers. At first I wasn't sure how I would make it through the afternoon and evening without all my peeps, but you know what? It was actually nice!

I wouldn't want to do it very often, but it was nice to do what I wanted, when I wanted, watching movies I wanted! Plus, I did some cleaning and preparation for the Big Move, and organized a ton of paperwork that must be done before the end of the week.

I made myself a nice dinner-for-one (even though my normal "alone" fare would've been Cheerios and milk) and enjoyed the solitude.

You know what makes being alone so fabulous? Knowing that my family would be home soon!

After a week like last week, and knowing what the next few weeks will look like, I was glad to have 19 hours of time to myself. I feel recharged! I highly recommend it!

I hope you have had a great weekend, and have a terrific start to your week!

La Vida Dulce!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Wedding: In Pictures

The Girl and her Paw (my Dad)

The wedding was amazing. 

The bride was (of course) incredibly beautiful. As was the groom.

Being a part of this celebration was special. I'm so glad I didn't miss it...

It made my heart happy to see my daughter dancing with her uncles and cousins. 

The Girl and Uncle Dan

I loved dancing with my Dad to the beat of Latin music. 

I enjoyed listening to the bride's sister give an amazing toast.

I savored sitting next to The Mister, with his sweet hand always lovingly in mine. 

I appreciated sitting at a table with my parents, brother Daniel, and his wife Mel--knowing that they were having a good time too.

It was a great wedding. 

The Cousins!
(minus one)
La Vida Dulce!