November 30, 2007

House painting...

While I was out one day I found the most adorable little house. Since the price was already reduced, and I knew Allen wouldn't mind; I bought it. It's really cozy looking with darling little front porch and little third story gables. Now of course I have to paint the darn thing, and it's taking forever. However, it'll look lovely up on my mantle with my other Christmas decorations.......Did I get you? Can we at least pretend I did? It really is turning out to be so adorable that I'm not sure how much I'm going to get done until I finish painting it. There are so many little nooks and crannies to reach that even the smallest task (like painting the window sills) is taking forever. And of course I've practically run out of white paint. Looks like I'm off to the store. Hope I can get out of there without bringing too much home with me....

November 29, 2007

This train is bound for glory...

Sometimes I think it helps to think of housework in terms of salvation or rather in connection with my own salvation. We have been saved (justified); we are being saved (sanctified), and we will be saved (glorified). Since I am currently a walking talking baptized communicant at my church I think I can safely pronounce that I'm in the "being saved" part of the trip here. That means that I'm on the train and headed towards the resurrection. I'm going in a certain direction. Even though I might not see that the train is moving I can trust that it is so because...well God said so, and I reckon His word is good. How does that have anything to do with housework? It's the direction I'm moving. If I think of housework as this long trip that I don't have to complete all at once that frees me up to dash, crawl, stumble, vault, meander, and through various means progress towards the end of housework. Since I'll likely be doing some sort of housework until I die this is actually a pretty good analogy. I'm not going to get all the housework done at once. Sanctification isn't going to happen in me all at once. In both cases I just sort of keep chugging along knowing all along it is God who wills and works within me and that it is not of myself. Now, don't carry this analogy too far. I certainly say "I vacuumed the floor" where I can't say "I accomplished x for my sanctification." I'm a five point Calvinist, and I say that God did/does it all. But you get the idea? This train is bound for glory, and my dishes are bound to be washed. Not all at once. A little at a time. And if that's the way God washes my soul it's certainly good enough for my laundry.

November 28, 2007


This is a really neat game I play on-line. Allen got me started. Apparently the developers decided to make these little widgets...

November 27, 2007

Beauty and heartbreak

Wandering around the blogworld I've been impressed by the beauty people seek in their lives. One loves the sparkle of Christmas lights reflected in children's delighted eyes. Another seeks the solace of a brooding November wood. And the one who turns to the wood is mirrored by another whose heart lingers over streetlights at dusk and a brilliant tree glittering in the square. Our hungry souls ever cry out for beauty. I think it's because God always intended us for it. Born into a garden, beauty was Adam's birthright, and our redeemed souls long for their heritage. This side of heaven no true solace can be found, but that doesn't stop our ever seeking and cherishing the flash and glow of beauty whenever we can find it. Yet in the cherishing is another pain. Moments pass. Brilliant sunsets become ordinary dusks. Enchanting twilight gives way to damp, chilly night. Tempers snap and ankles twist. Visits end. Moments float away on the wind. And because we know this our hearts break over a beauty that will not remain and cannot fully satisfy.

November 26, 2007

Chugging along

Well, as I hope you can see by my previous posts I'm still plodding along. I haven't been doing much writing lately, but I really think I need to get back at it. I often think better when I write, and there are times when I think even my dull posts help organize my brain. My mother-in-law has continued to help me as I try to get myself back in shape. While attending a seminar I noticed a quiz on stress in one of the booklets. It said that if you scored 300 or more stress points you needed to seriously evaluate your life and health. Guess what. I scored at least 300 points and depending on how you counted some of the events likely a good bit more. In everyday terms that means I am simply stressed out, in, up, down, and probably sideways. It's put a tremendous strain on my mind and my body, and I'm still in recovery mode. Right now the prescription is a simple one. Work on re-evaluating my mental habits and hit the amino-acids to help build up my body from the tiniest cell upwards. I was doing a fair bit more, but we're paring it down to see what kind of results we get from this.If I can (through God's strength) change my mental habits and get out from the daily burden of destructive head chatter then the physical should fall into place. It's not easy, but Allen's helping me. One of the things that I think it helping me the most right now is a preparation of Bach's Flower Essences that I have. They work rather like homeopathics except that they work on the emotions rather than working directly on the body. Often times I'll physically feel better, but that's because the flower essences help balance my emotions and mental processes which in turn helps to balance me out physically. They aren't a cure all or any sort of opiate or anti-depressant in the prescribed sense. They simply give you a little nudge in the right direction. A bit like a mental booster seat. While they don't replace the Scriptural renewing of the mind, they do help while you're on your way there.


Families are funny things. Right now I find myself being both an in-law and an out-law at a time when family presses around us the closest and which house for Christmas ham can be a tearful decision. Over Thanksgiving it really started hit me how much we take our ways for granted and how many ticky little traditions can blow up in our faces. How firm is the menu? When are the pies cut? Who does the flowers? Candles? China? Sweet potatoes? Stuffing versus dressing? There are a million tiny ways to get aggravated and fed up. I experienced a few of them just recently and will probably encounter a few more in the weeks to come. Part of the tension likely stems from my being the first daughter to come into the family with a list of family recipes and an itch to play in Grandmom's wonderful kitchen. There is an aunt who married in, but it appears that her accomplishments lie elsewhere. Then I walk in there bearing recipes and traditions from three different families, and...hmmmm....we're not so sure of the rules now. I suppose I could say that I'm the odd one out, but I think it would be more accurate to say that I'm the odd one in. I'm the new girl in their kitchen not knowing through long years tutelage just how the bread should be laid out and cut for stuffing or the gravy stirred. But then they don't know that the familial feast is never finished without sweet potatoes. However, with a lot of grace we managed work with and around each other to produce a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.

The challenges I've faced trying to fit into a new (and very welcoming family) have been somewhat magnified by the fact that there's a kitchen not 15 minute's drive from the one where Grandmom stirred up her magnificent gravy which should have been open to me and could have been a real time of coming home to the old traditions of cornbread dressing and sweet potato casserole eaten sitting around a large round table. That's the kitchen I grew up in. Sadly I don't even know if anyone was even there Thanksgiving. They could have gone camping (another common practice growing up) or to visit my aunt. I don't know. Maybe one day I'll be able to go back and be the daughter of the house working with my mom and my sisters to put the traditional meal on the table. Until this I suppose I wait and learn to be a wife in my own house and a daughter to my in-law's family.

November 25, 2007

Knock your socks off giving

I found it. The Christmas present that makes you sort of bubble up and want to call the recipient just to tell them that you've found them the Christmas present that you've been unconsciously waiting to give them. Yep, it's really Christmas now. Now for the long wait to see eager hands reach out and grasp the gift. Can't wait.

November 23, 2007

Best Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I like these better than sweet potato casserole. Inspiration came from childhood memories and the most wonderful sweet potato fries at a restaurant down in Gulf Shores, Al.

4 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
2 tbs sucanat (dehydrated cane juice)
1-2 tbs cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 tbs vanilla extract

Boil or steam the potatoes with a light sprinkling of salt until tender; drain; and mash. Mix in remaining ingredients until potatoes are smooth and uniformly seasoned. Yields approx 15 small (Thanksgiving when the table is overflowing) or 8 ample (main dish and two sides) servings.

The secret ingredient is the vanilla. It makes all the difference. Despite the small amount of added sugar the end result is very sweet so adjust the proportions as needed.

Happy Thankgiving....

Well not long after that last post I packed up and headed to Grandmom and Granddad's house while Allen went up to Montreal for training on some software he needs to use. He'd been sick the week before (and still is somewhat even now), and I wasn't doing that much better. Plus, it was Thanksgiving week, and my dear hubby was flying out of town. It could have been worse though. Although the training lasted from Monday thru Friday the higher ups ok'd Allen to only stay for three days which meant that he was able to come home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.Speaking of which, even most confined to giving orders from the kitchen table, Grandmom is a fabulous cook. At the last minute we got word that more family from Georgia was coming, and she just up and changed her menu to accommodate a few more grandkids. Granddad and I were pressed into doing most of the chopping and mixing. I made the pies. Also the mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes were a family staple at holiday meals back home that I've introduced a couple of times to my new family. We usually made them into a sweet potato casserole (NOT with marshmallows on top), but I actually like them mashed better.

It was so good being with family. I do enjoy seeing everybody.

This morning I decided to bite the bullet and join the Black Friday Mob out at the mall. The sales weren't really that spectacular for the most part, but I did manage to do about half my Christmas shopping for this year and part of it for the next. There's a game store in the mall that sells the neatest games. They almost never run sales, but today everything was 30% off.I stocked up. All in all a successful day.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

November 16, 2007

I'm back!

Hi everyone. I didn't mean to stay away so long. I just went off into the woods for the weekend, and then I never really came back here. (Thanks for the shout-out Trina). I suppose words simply haven't been coming that easily recently. Often times they don't when I'm wading through an endless sea of blah. It starts with a bad day where I don't get things done and sort of spirals down from there. Eventually Allen and I are both thoroughly frustrated, and I feel completely paralyzed and ashamed at the amount of catch-up that has to be done. Then there's the holidays approaching and my sluggish metabolism to deal with. Oh yeah, I found out that my "fire" (or metabolism) is more like an ill-built, smudgy, smoky campfire than an efficiently burning furnace. Imagine how you feel when your fire's like that. Pretty lethargic. Imagine how that helps you to maintain a positive attitude about yourself and your work. Yeah, it hasn't helped me much that way either. There's a few other things on top of that, but we won't go into that right now. I'm starting to see the light a little, but it's sort of uphill work at the moment I'm afraid. Anyway, that's my update. I'll see if I can post a few pictures of our camping trips the past month or so.

November 2, 2007

buggy, cruddy, uggy.....maybe?

Allen and I have both been pretty out of is this week. I don't know if we're fighting bugs or what. Drinking more water would probably help though. Anyway, it's not so bad but that we're planning another little excursion before it really gets too cold. Once we get there things will be fine since neither of us feel like doing much and (frankly) there's not much to be done. It just makes the actually getting there part that much harder though. I need to go cut up some veg to take with us. That's the main thing. Once our clothes get out of the laundry we should be mostly ready to go. Storing everything in bins means not that much to scrounge out and pack.

/me goes to find some music on pandora that will inspire vigorous activity.