Tuesday, December 28, 2010


While in Arizona I learned I'm a life-long sufferer of FOMO.

Its a chronic condition that apparently runs in my family.

My cousin Katie is the one who informed me of this malady. Seems she has it too.

You can imagine how relieved I was to realize that my Fear Of Missing Out actually has a name.

If you have ever hung out with me you'll know that I am last one to leave a party. I'm the last one to sleep at a slumber party. Y'all know I will undoubtedly wait to the very last minute to go to the bathroom when in conversation, often hollering "Don't have any fun without me!" while I do the pee-pee dance to the restroom.

It's all because of FOMO...I cannot stand to miss out.

One thing I won't be missing in the next six weeks is Ambers Backpacking Through Joshua bible study.

If you haven't been a part of her online bible studies you should be suffering from FOMO...because you're seriously missing out.

Last year I had the privilege to study with Amber and through the book of Daniel. Unfortunately, due to overcommitting (a side effect of FOMO) I was unable to finish. But this semester I know my limits! This will likely be the only weekly study I'll participate in until summer.

So, wanna join? Come on you know you do....

Click here to sign up!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas from the La Vida Dulce Family to yours!

(May Santa be as sweet to you as he is to me!)

Luke 20:1-20

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Postcard Post: Tamale Tale

There's an urban legend around this kitchen that gets told every year.

Two-and-a-half(ish) decades ago it was tamale time and the Christmas hustle-bustle was in full swing as my family members rushed to different activities.

I was the last in the house as my dad was heading out the door and he turned to me and said, 'Take the masa and put it in the pan we cook tamales in.'

Easy enough.

If you aren't familiar with tamale cooking, you probably don't know that masa is ground corn which is mixed with a bit of shortening and spread over a corn husk, then you place a bit of chili meat in the masa and roll it up. The tamale is then steamed. Back in the day my dad would steam his tamales in a large stock pot.

So I took that stock pot and squished 25 pounds of masa into it, and closed the lid. Unfortunately, I did something I thought would help the process along: I put it on the stove and turned on the burner.

I then proceeded about my day, completely oblivious to smell of burning corn product in the kitchen.

My dad came home from his outing and found his tamale beginnings burnt beyond bail-out.

Apparently, what my dad meant was 'put the masa in the bowl we mix tamales in' , meaning the silver mixing bowl pictured above.

Its a lesson I likely never forget because every year, wether I'm here to help or not, I'll get a phone call or text that says: Tamale day! Wish you were here to burn the masa.

Today is the big day here in the house that is my home-away-from-home. We'll laugh and work and tell stories that are always told...maybe even make a few more memories for the years to come. Then we'll clean up with the delicious tamale aroma wafting from the steamer, and wait for the eating to begin.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Arizona "Postcard" Post

It's been nearly 32 hours since our arrival to the desert.

The picture above was in Memphis, TN...our flight was delayed but we were happy. We knew that warmer days were ahead.

So far I've enjoyed a long walk in the sunshine, ate my dads cooking, attended a cookie exchange and visited with my family (and those are just the highlights!)...already time is going too quickly.

Were having a blast! Wish you were here!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Giving Thanks for Snowflakes and Friends

I've a new obsession.


So I've made one... or twenty.

These babies aren't cold, don't melt, and feel like a present each time you open them.

If you google 'paper snowflake pattern' you'll find all sorts of ways to make a 4, 5, or six-pointed snowflake, and you too, will have snowflake neurosis  passion.

I'm so easily side-tracked, I didn't actually come here to talk about snowflakes...

I wanted to tell you something I've been thinking about lately...

Last year The Girl joined the Girl Scouts. The first half of the year she enjoyed all the things she learned at the meetings, but had trouble connecting with the other girls. By mid-February she was ready to quit.

I was beginning to wear thin of all the prodding I was having to do on meeting days, but I was also very worried about the spring camping trip...the one I would send The Girl to alone...y'all know that I was fretful. I was thinking about letting her quit just so I wouldn't have to face my own fears about letting her go.

I'm so glad I didn't allow her (or me!) to quit.

It was on that camping trip that she met The BBFF or British Best Friend Forever (her mother doesn't know I'm writing about her, so I'll keep her somewhat anon)

The BBFF and her family are living in America for an interim, and since last March these two have come to be great friends.

When these girls are together, they are truly connected at the hip.

The amazing part is that I've had the privilege to get to know The BBFF's mum, Alison, who has been willing to spend some time with me and has patiently put up with all my inquiry: What is Cricket? Where do you shop? Why is William the Prince of Wales when he lives in London? Do you eat peanut butter? Was it hard to learn to drive on the 'right' side of the road? What is Marmite? 

What she doesn't realize is that she is teaching me far more than answering the silly questions of an American coffee drinker. My tea-times with her have been so enjoyable and helped me to see that she and I have far more in-common than not. With each visit I've been given a glimpse of God's providence.

I could have quit Girls Scouts last year, when it might have been easier... but at the loss of many wonderful things, including a new friend. Not just for the girls, but for Alison and me.

Yesterday afternoon she stopped by with a gift: homemade lemon curd...what a treat!

I can't wait to make some proper scones...

This morning my heart is full of thanks: for tea-times, new friends, and reaping the benefits of lessons learned.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Dabbling, Dilly-Dallying, and Frittering the Hours Away

Aren't those word in the title nice?

I'd much rather use those words to describe what I'm doing today than use the dreaded "P" word.

No, I just won't use that word at all.

Its been a lovely, albeit chilly, day.

If all goes according to plan, 168 hours from this moment I will be arriving at the Phoenix airport.

To say I'm excited would be gross understatement.

I cannot wait.

Of course, I am making a list and checking it twice: Clean house, wash laundry, call house-sitter, and a bunch of other silly stuff that must be accomplished before one travels.

Yet, I have managed to wander about doing a lot of everything and accomplishing nothing. Frittering, if you will. So the list never grows shorter.

You see, my problem is that I am hindered by excitement. This week alone holds two Christmas parties, two fun "play dates" with my friends, two basketball games, three days of school, our family Christmas celebration, and some other stuff that I can't seem to remember right now. Then I'll hop on a plane and see more people I love, who live where the weather will be a toasty 78 degrees.

I plan to bring home a tan for New Years Eve.

Of course, I don't know what I'll do with it when I get back home (its kind of silly to have a tan in winter clothing), but at least I'll have one. It may be the cheapest souvenir I can find.

Anyway, I'm worse than a child. Wandering about wondering what to do next, without really finishing the task at hand.

I do hope I finish this post. ;)

This season just makes me happy. So I'm (obviously) not worried about getting everything done. I work better under pressure. (Or at least thats what I like to tell myself.)

Hmmm....now let's see.... should I make candy, or address Christmas cards, or wash laundry...or...Oh wait, this looks interesting...



Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Little Of This and That on a Saturday Morning

I love technology.

Last night The Girl had her BFF over to spend the night. There was giggling and whispers heard from across the hall.

At 11:30p I knocked on the door and told them I was going to bed. They were quietly tucked under piles of covers, watching the end of a movie. They planned to go to sleep when it was finished.

At midnight I was wide awake, reading a new blog I found:  Attic 24.

The laughter across the hall suddenly began to build. I wasn't slumbering, nor even close, but I was very cozy and warm...I didn't really want to get out of my bed to ask them to be quiet.

So I did the next best thing: I sent The Girl a text, reminding them that it was a bit late.

In about three minutes all was quiet, with an occasional stifled giggle. Which made me smile.

I thought myself very clever.

I asked them this morning if they got my text. They hadn't. They had quieted themselves on their own. Confessing that "after midnight you feel so crazy and wild! We were glad to go to sleep."

I hope she'll say that 10 years from now.

On a completely different note, have you noticed that the 80's are in full-swing fashion these days?

I've noticed the comeback of leg-warmers. I wore those back in the day... only I wore mine as an accessory to shirts with the shoulder parts cut out...I hope those don't come back.

I had nearly a full skein of yarn used for another project and thought I might make The Girl some leg-warmers for Christmas. Unfortunately, I got 9/10th's of the way finished and ran out of yarn...hmmm. I hope they still sell this stuff.

I also found a great pattern at tangled happy. The Girl Scouts pick secret sisters each year at Christmas. Our secret sister will receive this bag.

 It stitched easily and VERY quickly. I did it in 30 minutes, in the car, waiting for piano lessons to be over. So if your so inclined, or you need a quick gift idea, go hook this one up!

All right, the Gigglers are up and have asked for pancakes...an easy request that I am happy to oblige.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, December 03, 2010

The View From my Windows

Every morning he brings me coffee and opens the shades on our south facing windows.

I sip and see the sunrise waking up the trees.

By the time I need my second round, I slowly, tenderly, tip-toe downstairs, in hopes that I won't wake the dog, who'll need a pat, and want to go outside.

If I'm successful, and sneak back upstairs, she'll sleep and I won't have to open the door to the frigid morning...
...and then wait for her to come back.

On a winter weekend I might view the coziest sight of all...
Of all the things I love to see when I look out my window, this is the one I love the most...

We joke that he's the king of this castle, in his sherpa-lined flannel and red ball cap.

We joke, but its true.

As I care for the alligators that live in the mote the home and its inhabitants, he actually braves the cold (even for the dog) and surveys the land.

Yes, that is my favorite view of all...

Of course, I love it when the woodland creatures come out to play...

I took this video several weeks ago...you can hear me talk in my best Mutual of Omaha voice...which quickly gets set aside for all the excitement.

If you think I get excited about this "huge-little family", you should have seen me the day a mama deer was trying to graze while her twin fawns were trying to nurse...now that was an amazing view from my window.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

In the Nest

I'm feeling pensive today.

This always happens 
when I expose my heart,
as I did last night-- 
Awkwardly sharing
the deeper places 
that only the Lord
 and I 
can see. 

I didn't share much, 

but a swatch cut from the tapestry of life 
still sometimes stings... 

Though differently than it did before. 

Its hard, 
choosing vulnerability.

Hard to share the deeper things of life 
that have shaped me, 
held me, 
transformed me 
into who I am today. 

 I'm tempted 
to create a different image,
than the one 
cut for me.

Though I am unable to do it.

Time has taught me,
to share 
(when the time is right)
 the good
as well as the bad.

I doubt I will ever
do it gracefully...
but the privilege of


all things,
those we can see and understand,
and those we can't, 
can be..

Life is messy. 
Even ugly, 
sometimes I still want to run -- 
from places and names, 
times and troubles. 

from myself.

But Truth tells me,
I'm never alone.

(Neither are you.)

I am,

and was,

and always will be,




tucked in,


of the 



He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wing you will find refuge,
His faithfulness will be your shield.
Psalm 91:4