Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Bloggy Break

On Tuesday I heard myself say four words out loud:

"I don't have time."

No big deal, right? I mean you and I, we say those words at least a dozen times every day.

Except this time I was hanging over my checkbook. And the thing I didn't have "time" for was the balancing of said checkbook. And the reason I had to make this excuse to myself was because I hadn't balanced it in . . . umm . . . a long time, and now I was faced with a very costly error for that very reason.

I would also like to hastily insert here that I am married to an accountant and have never found him to be especially compassionate when faced with the words "I don't have time" linked with the concept of balancing my checkbook . . . especially when he's faced with a costly error as a result.

My mind immediately flicked to a hobby that I especially love . . . a hobby that shall remain nameless, except to say that it begins with a "b" and rhymes with "clogging."

I always have time for that hobby.

Which does of course bring up annoying little notions like "priorities" and "responsibilities."

So . . . ::sigh:: . . . I think I shall take a little blog break.

Just long enough to get caught up on those priorities and responsibilities. Because now that I think of it, there is that week-old basket of clean laundry in my closet . . .

and the birthday card I should've sent in February . . .

and the tub of library books due last week . . .

Yeah . . . time for a bloggy break. See you after Easter!! : )

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A New Perspective on Waiting

My recent introduction to freestyle embroidery has definitely given me a new perspective on waiting.

So, when Middle Son came flying down the hill on his scooter, hit a large rock, went sailing through the air and landed unceremoniously on his wrist, it was hard for me not to feel just slightly giddy.

No, no, no, it's not what you think!! Definitely not giddy for the fall or the pain. But giddy at the anticipation of waiting.

You see, the way I see it, that's 30 minutes in the waiting room, 30 minutes in the exam room, and another 30 minutes waiting for the doctor to read the films.

Which adds up to a full 1 1/2 hours of total guilt-free stitching away. No distractions. No being pulled away to plunge a toilet or settle a Lego dispute or make the dog get off the couch.

And this is exactly why I marched into the orthopedist's office with a smile on my face and my dorky little embroidery box under my arm.

As we embarked on the first half hour of waiting, I finished up this wonderful little stripe-y line, all fat with satin stitches.

People in the waiting room peered as only the terminally bored can in a waiting room.

Right on schedule, at almost the 1/2 hour mark, we were ushered back to radiology. I started in on a delicious satin stitch swirl, punctuated with French knots. Middle Son was beginning to get fidgety.

As we hit the 1 hour mark, I was full into the French knots. Middle Son's legs began to bounce up and down and his arms began to twitch. This is a child who lives in motion.

At 1 1/2 hours, I made the last snip of the floss and transitioned to a pretty little scattering of fabric flowers. These came from some left over fabric, I backstitched around the flowers and then snipped away the extra fabric.

And now a doctor appeared. She prodded, she poked, she touched, she twisted. She said she was the intern. The doctor would be in shortly.

This little sprinkle of flowers makes me smile!
Middle Son began pacing. He complained that the room was driving him crazy. I saw the look of a caged animal in his eyes. I began a small lecture about the importance of bringing something to do with you when you know you have to wait.

And I continued stitching.

The intern popped in again. She said she had thought of some more questions. Hmmmm. Clearly there was something amiss. We discussed past injuries . . . past sports involvement . . . past girlfriends . . . past homework. How much more could we discuss? How much more could she stall?

My neck was starting to cramp, but I started on a lovely full rose made of mounds of French knots. If one French knot is to sigh for, a whole pile of them is positively to swoon for!

At a full 2 hours, even I had to admit that stitching has its limits. Middle Son was now draped across the doctors rolling chair, zooming himself across the room and around the tight corners. I tucked away the embroidery, slowly rotated my neck and tried to refocus my eyes.

Mercifully, the doctor entered. It was a sprain. Nothing even showed up on the films. Here's a wrist brace. So good to have you here. Enjoy your evening.

Middle Son sprang for the door, gulping in the cool air of freedom. And I smugly tucked my embroidery box under my arm.

I had just spent 2 1/2 hours at the doctor's office, and for once I didn't feel like I'd been robbed of my time.

And, so, when Youngest Son's orthodontic appliance snapped off his tooth the next day and we headed out for an emergency appointment, I was smiling . . . and my embroidery box was under my arm.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Being Girl-y

Have you seen them?

They're everywhere this spring!

You noticed, right?!

And did they make you catch your breath?

(coastal living)

And make your toes tingle?

Ruffles, I mean.

Ruffles everywhere.

On clothes,

And pillows,

And hats,

And shoes.

Wow! It's good to be a girl!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Savory and Speedy Dinner!

What do you get when you take 8 aromatic piles of herbs and spices:

Happily stir them all together:

Rub them briskly into boneless chicken breasts:

Lay them snugly in the crockpot, pour over some broth, and let slowly simmer?

Why, just some really tasty, yummy-scrummy chicken that's moist and spicy and took all of 5 minutes to prepare!

You must try!

Cajun Roasted Chicken Breasts

3 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup chicken broth

I cut up each chicken breast piece into 3 pieces. Then I mixed all the herbs/spices together and rubbed them on all sides of the breast pieces. Lay pieces in slow cooker and pour on 1 cup of chicken broth. Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Taking Into Account One's Environment

As a mother of a Youngest Daughter, there are certain visions in my mind that go along with that place in the family.

My visualizations include things like:

Shy smiles,

Ruffly tutus,

Dreamy scenes with baby dolls,

Large, expressive eyes,

Dancing and ruffles,

And lots and lots of pink.

Unfortunately, my mental images didn't take into account









"Peace out, man."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

All You Have


God will not be all you want until He is all you need.

And God will not be all you need until He is all you have.

These words were texted to me by an especially dear friend. An especially dear friend who is living them . . . and finding them true.

These words caused me to catch my breath because the journey can be so painful. But also because the journey is so healing and life-giving and freeing.

These words bring me joy because I have seen God working them out inside of me. And I see Him making this truth a reality in so many others.

"I came that they might have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, until it overflows."
John 10:10

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stitching Freestyle

Oh . . . my . . . goodness, am I ever LOVING this freestyle embroidery. Have I mentioned to you the "e-zine" that Teresa McFayden has put out? Oh, yes, I guess I have. Maybe . . . like . . . three times.

(By the way . . . don't know why some of the pictures show a bluish cast to portions of the linen. Must be something with the lighting.)

Okay, well, I'm ready to show you the results of the first lesson. Yes, Teresa is on Lesson 10. I am on Lesson 1. But at least I'm further along than the first letter of the first word! You've gotta give me that!

I accomplished what you see here while waiting.

Waiting until the kids' Co-op lets out. Waiting during a golf lesson. Waiting after basketball practice. Waiting at the doctor's office. Waiting in the orthodontist's office. Never knew I did so much waiting! Now I have something to show for it!!

At first I wasn't sure I was going to like this embroidery. My mind is used to churning, whirling, spinning, and there was something mind-numbing about the endless up and down of the needle. But once my hyperactive brain got slowed down and used to the pace, I started to find the creativity and simplicity refreshing and soothing.

And now, I can't stop!! I'm loving this. I love the freestyle nature of it. I love how I can put my own spin on it.

This is just the beginning!! There's a lot more to come as I make it through all 10 lessons and fill up this sampler. Can't wait to show you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sprucing Up For Spring

I haven't blogged in a few days so I could spruce up the Little Blog for spring.

I really wanted to have a picture in the banner that had at least a little something to do with "imperfection." But it wasn't attractive to show a sink full of dirty dishes or the current state of my desk.

I finally decided that the perfect way to show "living with imperfection" was to take one of my favorite flowers, the gerber daisy, in brilliant red and pull a few petals off one of them. Then I'd have a line of beautiful red gerbers and at the end of the line, one imperfect gerber.

Youngest Son and I drove off to get the flowers, and I tried to find the best place to photograph them.

I tried the rail of the deck, with the woods in the background. But you couldn't really see the "imperfect" red gerber, and the photo made it look like I live in the woods. And I don't live in the woods.

I just see them from my deck . . . and gaze after them longingly.

Then I tried photographing them on the deck with the brick of the house behind. But I thought the deck and brick were a little too orange-y and the red gerbers just blended in with the background a little too much.

Besides, it kind of looked like the blog should be called "Living With Imperfection on the Ranch," and I'm not Pioneer Woman . . . I just want to be.

The final photo shoot ended up to be perfect. On the side of the tub in the master bathroom. Yep, the tub . . . where I luxuriate in hour-long bubble baths every night {ahem . . . not!}

I just loved the way the red showed up against the white and the blue. And the column always makes me feel like I'm bathing in the Roman Baths. Or they would if I ever took a bath.

(I do, however, take showers. Just thought you should know.)

As soon as dinner was over, I made my announcement:

"Okay, everyone in to the computer to see my new banner for my blog!"

(Dramatic rolling of eyes by teenagers, attempts at escape by Youngest Son, reluctant shuffling of feet by the rest.)

I pulled it up onto the screen . . . hoping they would see its beauty, get the "imperfection" connection.

"Well, Mom, I love it all except that," said Oldest Son (his large pointer finger resting on the gerber with the missing petals).

"That is supposed to be the 'imperfection,'" explained Oldest Daughter dryly, who only knew this because I had divulged it to her earlier. "Nobody is going to get it, Mom."

"Okay, thank you all. I'm sure everyone has some homework to do now."

Ah, yes, nothing like a house full of teenagers to keep you humble . . . and balanced . . . and focused.

I don't even need to read books like "Humility." I have on-site tutors 24 hours a day.

Speaking of which, I put up a little "carousel" on the sidebar to show what I'm reading currently. I just LOVE when people share the books they're reading . . . the books they're enjoying.

Sorry, but I'm not a big fiction reader. Most of what I love is non-fiction. You can assume that any fiction that shows up on the carousel is probably what I'm currently reading aloud to the kids . . . one of the best parts of my day!

If you've found a great book, feel free to share!!

And now I will go sit in a corner of the couch and read "So Long, Insecurity . . . " and see if I can make it one more day in this household . . . with my self-confidence intact.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Risks of the Circus

Our every-once-in-a-while excursion to the circus, although an eagerly anticipated event, is always fraught with risk!

It begins when we walk through the front door of the stadium, when the Man of the House and I will immediately be accosted by little people to purchase the $35 glow-in-the-dark spinners that are currently selling at Dollar Tree for $4.99.

We run the risk of being considered spoil-sport, stingy, incomprehensible, insensitive, and out-of-touch. We joyfully accept such risk.

This harsh stance will also extend to $10 bags of cotton candy, $15 snow cones in plastic elephant cups, and $50 small stuffed tigers.

I can pretty much be assured that the day following the circus,Youngest Son will again attempt to teach our 2 large, aging dogs to perform feats of dexterity and daring.

This will involve the disappearance of large amounts of Milk Bones and an increase in our golden's arthritis.

Middle Son, on the other hand, will come back from the circus totally convinced that he can tightrope-walk the deck railing . . . and then free fall to the trampoline 1 story below.

Youngest Daughter will have reawakened within her her life's calling to some form of entertainment career involving skimpy outfits with lots of sequins and long, flowing hair.

There are many reasons for which this career path seems undesirable and ill-advised.

In the face of these risks, our crew of 7 continues to press on, enjoying the circus every couple of years.

The joy, excitement, and adrenaline rushes while enjoying the three rings, make the risks a small price to pay.

It is, after all, the greatest show on earth!