Monday, April 15, 2013

He Leadeth Me

My grandfather passed away in January, just two weeks before I gave birth to our sweet daughter Aivenne. I still ache when I think how he just missed getting to hold her but I am continually comforted at the joyful thought of her running into his embrace in Heaven. This last week I was given (among other things I treasure) a little devotional book of his entitled He Leadeth Me by V. Raymond Edman, who was the president of Wheaton College when the book was published (copyright 1959). Inside the book I have found dates (1966!) and check marks where my grandpa noted sections that he used in sermons and prayers. I forgot to mention that my grandpa was a preacher. I loved my grandpa and although he was a little bit of a mystery to me at times, I am forever thankful for his love of Jesus that touched my life and so many others. Every portion that I have read in this book has not failed to move, convict, encourage and touch me in some way. I'm thankful to Grandpa for leaving this for me to pour over and to have this in common in our spiritual journeys.

He Leadeth Me

He leadeth me.
In pastures green? No, not always.
Sometimes He who knoweth best
In kindness leadeth me in weary ways
Where heavy shadows be;
Out of the sunshine warm and soft and bright,
Out of the sunshine into the darkest night.
I oft would yield to sorrow and to fright
Only for this: I know He holds my hand.
So, whether led in green, or desert land
I trust, although I cannot understand.

He leadeth me.
Beside still waters? No, not always so.
Oft times the heavy tempests round me blow,
And o'er my soul the waves and billows go.
But when the storm beats wildest, and I cry
Aloud for help, the Master standeth by
And whispers to my soul: "Lo, it is I."
Above the tempest wild I hear Him say:
"Beyond the darkness lies the perfect day;
In every path of thine I lead the way."

So whether on the hilltops, high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie- what matter? He is there.
And more than this; where'er the pathway lead
He gives to me no helpless, broken reed,
But His Own hand, sufficient for my need.
So where He leads me I can safely go.
And in the blest hereafter I shall know
Why in His wisdom He hath led me so.
-Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

cracking the code on eggs

Today I have the honor of being a guest blogger on my sister's blog. If you don't follow her already, you should- she's creative, smart, funny, beautiful- AND she posts regularly. Head on over to The Sprouted Root to check it out!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Soup: Cheddar Celery

Green soup has the potential to be a little terrifying. So St. Paddy's day is a great excuse for trying out a new recipe. Enter Cheddar Celery Soup. Normally I would let you know it's delicious but Selah pronounces it "good-licious" so I'm going to stick with that. Actually if I'm being completely honest, she refused to eat this soup and when I swiped a little bit across her lips so she could actually taste it before hating it she turned to me, scowled with the nastiest possible look, tears in her eyes and yelled, "Nassy!! Goss!!" But she really does say good-licious. Just not for this soup.
So while Cheddar Celery Soup does not have a stamp of approval from the two year old, the rest of us in the house happily slurped up the whole pot. It also has the advantage of being a great way to get in a significant portion of your daily veggie allotment. We served it alongside a gorgonzola chicken marsala dish- altogether a highly flavorful meal.

Cheddar Celery Soup
1 head of celery
1 onion, chopped
2+ Tbsp. butter
1 quart chicken stock
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions in the butter for 5 minutes until soft but not brown. Clean and chop the celery, including the leaves. Save a few leaves for garnish. Add the celery to the onions and stir. Then cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the stock and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the celery is very soft. Add the cheese and puree with a hand blender. (Regular blender of food processor will also work). Serve with a few celery leaves as a garnish.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rapidly Deteriorating... Trailer Life

We've been living in a travel trailer... in the driveway... at my parents'... for a month now. So far things have been supernaturally going swimmingly. Truly. We give God the glory and praise for the peace and enjoyment we've had while living out this little adventure. We've taken opportunities to spend a day at the coast, a few miscellaneous date nights for Mike and I, rotated cooking dinners and trying new recipes (pan-fried oysters, marsala chicken with gorgonzola cheese, sausage with apples and sweet potatoes, etc.), lounged by the fireplace and indulged in near-nightly popcorn and numerous episodes of Cold Case (and been subjected to a few hunting videos- rather unwillingly for yours truly), polished off bags and loaves of gluten-free this and that and stayed up many a late night listening to the rain, wind and occasional snow/hail pelt the trailer.

Trailer life has been pretty eventful. It took us a little while to adjust to the occasional headlights shining through the windows and the late-night snow-tired-studded cruiser practically crawling down the street. It took us a little longer to ignore the near gale-like winds rocking the trailer from side to side. I didn't get used to the propane running out in the middle of the night and leaving us without heat; the snow outside on the ground made sure the propane tanks were refilled in time for the next sleep. The leak that sprang from the vent above our bed wasn't allowed to drip for too long before being addressed. The tarp that was placed over that vent to keep the weather and water out worked great, even though the rain came down in sheets that night. Another perk of that tarp: even though there were near-unmeasurable quantities of rain I could've sworn I could count every single drop as each drop hit that tarp. The mold that we found creeping up the walls is apparently of the non-toxic genre; I swear I had trouble breathing the night we discovered it but my sore throat was gone pretty quickly the next day. The mold actually cleans up quite nicely but for now we're going to be bunking with the girls in the back bedroom of the house. It gives us just a little more twist to this crazy adventure.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"...She said to herself..."

Eileigh has been cracking me up lately. I find myself scribbling down things she says throughout the day on whatever scraps of paper I can find... all to be transcribed at some point into my journal for future reflection and enjoyment. I understand that no one else will find these even as close to amusing as do her parents but I wanted to have them all in one spot. So bear with a mother who adores her children. :)

She has taken to occasionally narrating what she is doing. Often I will hear her quietly talking to herself and she will finish it with "... she said to herself."

We had "Porcupines" for dinner- you know, meatballs with rice. Eileigh asked her proud Daddy if he shot the porcupine we were eating. (Answer: kind of. It was really deer meat and he had harvested it... so... yes?)

She loves to cook in her play kitchen. Today at nap time she informed me that she was making a cake... flour, eggs, and "I pinched a little bit of salt. I pinched it." while holding up her fingers to show me just a little bit.

She referred to her Papa and Grammie. I clarified, Papa Jack and Grammie Coffee? She answered, "Your husband's mommy and daddy." Okay then!

We were looking at a picture of otters sitting on a plaid blanket and having a picnic lunch of minnows, bread and sparkling cider. She said "They can't have bibs!" Of course I thought it might be because otters don't generally sit around having picnic lunches but I just asked her, Why not? Her insightful answer: "Because the fishies aren't messy."

She will occasionally respond to me with, "Yes, your Majesty" or "Yes, my Majesty". I really don't see the need for correction on this one. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Stuffed Pillowcases: Deep Thoughts

Tip: Put your bedsheets and second pillowcase inside the first one for storage.

Question: Why would I ever want to do that?

Theory: Keeps everything together, no spare pillowcase to get lost.

Rebuttal: I hate this tip. I even tried it once and cannot make it work. I have an absolutely lovely friend whose life has been completely renewed by now stuffing her pillowcases in this manner. I think what drives me nuts first of all is that it makes just an unsightly lump of sack-filled sheets unfit for stacking and better equipped for stuffing into an already packed closet shelf. Furthermore, my pillowcases are apparently too long and end up having a tail (do I fold it back under or do I just loosen up the whole package and let it ooze out over the shelf?), becoming the very antithesis of a neatly folded pile. I also must question the obvious... how do pillowcases get lost on a closet shelf? If they are removed by someone needing a clean pillowcase then it is just as possible to lose one housed in a pillowcase-sack as it is in a pillowcase-pile. The return of wayward single pillowcase is just as easy (and dare I say easier?) to a stack than a sack. Finally (and this moves beyond a deep thought to a deep-seated issue), by having all of the sheets inside a pillowcase, the pillowcase is open and exposed, most of its surfaces touching and being touched by any manner of objects. Completely negates the freshness factor a tightly folded pillowcase can bring to a newly dressed bed.

Solution: After laundering a set of bedsheets and pillowcases, fold each item as neatly as you prefer, place altogether in a stack (prodigal pillowcase option: sandwich folded pillowcases in between the flat and the fitted) and stuff as neatly as preferred into whatever space is available on the shelf.

Warning: If you ever stop by for a visit, don't open the door to my linen closet. You may have a pile of sheets fall out neatly on your head.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Taking the Trash Out: A Doctor's Visit

I fight and I fight. Sometimes I gain some turf. Sometimes it's a losing battle. What is this battle, you ask? It's one I think most, if not all mothers... wives... women (I don't know how much to generalize here- maybe it really is just me) wrestle with. Maintenance vs. Letting Things Go. Balance. Class vs. Trash. Today= Class 0, Trash 1.

I would just like to note beforehand that as of late we've been coasting along pretty well. I took Eileigh's questions about getting dressed ("Where are we going?") and house cleaning ("Is Daddy coming home today?") to heart and decided that perhaps I was flirting dangerously with a line that is best avoided and have been working to improve such areas. This of course includes demolishing certain post-childbirth beliefs such as putting a bra on underneath the sweats you wore to bed the night before consists of "getting dressed for the day".  Needless to say, it's a work in progress.

Last night the girls both spiked pretty high fevers after a day of... let's just say an extremely quickly moving digestive system. I was up throughout the night with Eileigh, who seemed to suffer the most. Selah's fever broke around 4:30am and they both crawled into bed with me around 5:00am, insisting they really would go to sleep and allow me a few moments of restful bliss as well. Eileigh kept worming her way on top of me while Selah spent her time alternating between quietly sucking her thumb and punctuating the quiet darkness with a quick jab to my eye, "Eye", a strong grip of fingers squeezing my chin, "Chin", and a deft single-hair-pulling pluck, "Hair". I decided we could work on co-sleeping another time and they slept a couple more hours back in their own beds.

I dragged through the morning, changing Selah at least three times due to unfortunate leakage. The kind where the diaper doesn't even have time to absorb the fast flow so it just shoots out the side and down the leg. I decided to put Selah in a cloth diaper for our mid-morning trip to the doctor's since cloth (although not thrilling to clean when sick) does a much better job of containing said liquid contaminants. Due to an important phone call, a late start and the inevitable getting-stuck-behind-the-truck-driving-15-miles-below-the-speed-limit I breezed into the doctors' office about 10 minutes late. However, a few other things were right on schedule. That would be Selah's impeccable timing of removing both socks and shoes three minutes before our (late) arrival and her subsequent chucking and losing of one sock somewhere to the recesses of our car. As I pulled her from the carseat I also happened to notice she had completely soaked through her diaper, onesie and pants. Much to my relief it was only urine. Much to my chagrin, in the haste to get out the door I had neglected to pack any spare clothing for her and found myself with a half-naked little girl running around the lobby in only a diaper and a thermal hoodie. Much to my further dismay I discovered that the only spare Selah-sized item of clothing I had in the diaper bag was in fact one sad, lone, gray-heeled sock. I now realized I had to make the choice of either putting her shoes of choice (dressy black Mary Janes) back on her without socks OR putting the pants-less girl in one athletic gray-heeled sock and one green-scalloped-edged dress sock. Seeing as how it is winter time and since I'm out of running for Mother-of-the-Year already I decided to go with the mismatched socks and buckled the dress shoes back on. About that time Eileigh decided she was too hot and took off her turquoise jacket. Light bulb went on and I thought, Hey, that should be long enough to cover most of Selah's legs... almost like a dress. That would be soo much better. So I put it on Selah. Not only was it not even close to long enough to cover the diaper,  I was forced to roll up the sleeves about four times since Selah instantly loved wearing Eileigh's jacket and wouldn't take it off willingly for anything. She waltzed all around the lobby proudly while I slunk down into acceptance: Yep, I'm that mom.

I know what they say: You win some, you lose some. I think losing a big chunk of pride might be the best win of all. Embarrassing almost to the point of painful. Nothing like these God-gifts we call children to humble the pride right out of you. Tomorrow I start afresh. And with a full set of spare clothes packed in the diaper bag.