let blessings abound

In this season when “blessings” are on everyone’s minds thought I’d share a few thoughts I’ve had recently on the subject.  Just to throw my hat into the ring, so to speak.

A co-worker of mine has come up with a fabulous idea for her next birthday party

She is getting a big group together, coordinating them through facebook, to go serve in a local soup kitchen together.  I think they will be going out afterwards too.

Isn’t that a cool idea? 

I asked Trenadia what prompted her to come up with this idea.  What was the trigger?  This was her answer;

“Well I just decided that I wanted to promote giving back. So I’m just inviting friends out to  volunteer at the Atlanta Food Bank.   Because it’s about who I am.  On a personal note; over the past two years, I have had to use a few of the services as well as people who have giving hearts, to maintain everyday life…not only from family or people I know, but strangers as well. Giving back helps us remember that ‘WE ARE ALL ONE’.”

My life changed in one day, from one of comfort and privilege to the exact opposite.  I have  always volunteered but during this time, I volunteered a lot and it helped me get through my hard times.When you help others, you truly help yourself.”

Bravo Trenadia.  And I quite agree, we are all blessed in order to BE a blessing.  If your blessing today is hands that can lift, sort and pass food out to those in need, do it.  If your blessing today is some extra cash in your grocery budget, drop off some food at your local food pantry.  If your blessing for today is just a smile that you can share, then share it.

And if your blessing is that you always have too many friends who want to come to your birthday party, consider organizing a joyful giving party. 

Let the blessings abound!

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bits and pieces

I’ve just spent four full days without any dairy products of any kind in my system.

I

am

gonna

go

insane

very soon if I can’t have cheese. White Mexican cheese dip specifically.

This wasn’t a completely random decision. I had all four of my wisdom teeth out on Thursday morning.  Whenever I asked what I could eat after the proceedure I kept getting the same answer :

Ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk shakes, jello pudding.

um, let me get this straight.  You want to take out four of my teeth, give me drugs that will make me want to not move for four days and feed me a diet of all dairy?  oh and I can’t brush my teeth during this time for fear of disturbing the surgical site?

So in the space of four days I will gain 10 pounds and have a mound of decay in my remaining teeth.  Lovely.

NOT !

So I went the opposite direction. I decided to cut out dairy for seven days.  I’m drinking beef broth, chicken broth, tea, water, fruit purees and the occasional serving of clear jello.

Providentially, the day after my surgery I got a call from my general practitioner…..  To tell me that my cholesterol was too high and they were going to have to put me on medication for it.

So I guess my planned orgy of dairy goodness that I had scheduled for this Friday is going to have to be put off.  I’ll reintroduce dairy slowly.

*sigh*

In the meantime here is a great substitute that I found to make my broths into creamy soups with NO DAIRY – use coconut milk.  Yup canned coconut milk.  Just 1 tablespoon of it in two cups of beef broth turns the clear boring broth into a creamy dish of delight.

or at least that is what I’m telling myself.

platform blog

I don’t often do this…..don’t often ask my readers to participate in a charity drive of any kind.  I generally believe that people are best left to pick their own charity that is closest to their heart.  The one God has laid on them personally.

My main charity emphasis has always been Compassion International which is a group that matches caring people with an individual child that you can help and correspond with.

But today I got a facebook invite to be a part of a very simple food drive this Saturday, May 8th.

http://www.helpstampouthunger.com

Why should you participate?

simple.

Jesus told us to Feed the Poor.

He didn’t say “make them fill out an application to see if they are worthy”

He never said “wait to see if they have stopped drinking booze before you feed them”

Christ didn’t say “make sure to witness to them as you hand them the food” (on that note, simply FEEDING them IS our witness to them as a demonstration of Grace – unmerited favor)

He never mentioned the concept of “the deserving poor or the UN-deserving poor”

He just said Feed the Hungry.

And actually it wasn’t just Christ that said it.  This command has been showing up in the Bible since Old Testament times.  There are over 300 mentions of how we are to take care of the poor and needy in the Bible.

I’ll leave you with two.  You can look up the others if you are interested.

John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
Luke 3:11

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:9-11

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like a wonderful promise.  Something I’d be willing to do almost anything to get.

In most of Christianity we have to accept a free gift – grace.  Something we can NEVER do ANYTHING to earn.  It is hard for us to wrap our brains around grace.   But this is something we are told to do and that it will have have direct results.

I want the LORD to guide me.

Always.

Do you have extra non-perishable food in your pantry? set it out for your postal worker to pick up this Saturday.

It is that simple.

a visit to hooters

yes.

we took our 16 month old baby girl to Hooters.

please don’t call out the Department of child Services on me yet okay.

there were extenuating circumstances.

We were in Knoxville, visiting friends.  Lots of friends.  We had been bouncing about from party to party (not boozing, just social gatherings) and the occasional break for shopping.  It was Saturday.  We had one last stop to make at Liz’s house and then we were heading out of town.

Liz’s party wasn’t scheduled to start till 4 p.m.

by which point we were scheduled to be on the road back to Atlanta.

Liz very graciously said that we could come by early so that we could hang out and see her and her hubby for a while.  We knew they would be doing party prep, but we were hoping to be as little of an intrusion as possible and still enjoy some time together.

To help us be as little bother as possible, we felt we should eat before arriving.

So there we were.  Shopping was done, we were driving down a commercial street filled with lots of expensive eateries and I saw a sign  that said

“kids eat free before 6 p.m.”

okay, sold.

me – Honey, let’s go there.

him – where?

me – there.  hooters.

him – WHAT ?!?!!!!!! you didn’t just seriously say that we were going to Hooters for lunch.

me *sheepishly*- yes.  the food is decent. or so I hear and I’m in the mood for wings, AND KIDS EAT FREE so Ginny’s $7.00 chicken strips or whatever will be FREE

(can you tell the word FREE had gotten lodged in my brain?)

him – ooooookkaaaa-ay. If you’re sure.

me – yup.  FREE food.  How bad can it be?

Now in all fairness, yes, I know that the entire Hooters business model involves exploitation of women’s bodies. and NO I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF THAT.  However I must say that the outfits were much less offensive than I recalled from my one other time in the restaurant way back when I was an insecure 21 year old.

And guess what? the food was good.  I liked the medium spicy wings. The wait staff was very knowledgable and didn’t …um….thrust themselves upon my husband notice.

and people…the place was CRAWLING with kids.  Families, 3 generations at one table, babies, toddlers….I was stunned.

No I would never take a child there who was old enough to be ….interested in the attributes of the women on all the posters and the wait staff.  But for another year or two, it will be a decent place to take Ginny when we want her to get a free lunch and mommy is hungry for wings.

To his credit my sweet hubby had never been in a Hooters before and declared himself to be unimpressed by the…..scenery.  ( I LOVE my man!)

now the $64,000 question –

How did Ginny take all this?

well…….

There’s the rub.  See it took us so long to find somewhere to eat lunch that by the time we parked and turned to get her out of her car seat, she was asleep.  We figured that she would wake up when we got her out of the car.  Nope, still snoozin’.  Okay, the walk across the parking lot will certainly wake her up, the air is so cold up here!  Nope, still snoozin’. Okay, perhaps putting her in her high chair will awaken our sleeping beauty….nope.

she lay back in her chair for a second

then slowly rolled her head forward

and gently rested it……on. the. table.

still snoozin’

the wait staff…oh alright, the hooter’s girls kept coming to ask to have their picture taken with our sweet baby girl ’cause they thought she was so beautiful and cute.  Martin raised Ginny’s head at one point and put his hat under her face so she would have something resembling a pillow.

So we have no idea what Ginny’s opinion of her first Hooter’s visit was….

she slept right through it.

Eventually she woke up and enjoyed the chicken fingers very much on the drive home.  But we will have to wait till next time to find out her true opinion of the place.

three steps forward

I don’t have photos of it, cause I was too busy watching it happen, but

Ginny took three unsupported steps on Saturday.

She stood up in the middle of her nursery, balanced, then took three slow, controlled, steps toward her toy cabinet. Then she stopped,  stood still for a moment, and sat down.  I was very surprised at how controlled her movements were.  Never having been through this before,  I had kind of expected a tottering lunge, or an out of control stagger, but she was very controlled and in charge of her body.   She thinks things through and works to physically get at what she wants.  This little girl is just impressing my socks off.

She may be walking on her own in time for her first birthday party this coming Saturday!  And I promise I’ll get photos and video up soon.

Now that I’ve related that momentous news, here’s the rest of the Ginny update:

Ginny has proven to us that she knows what the remote control is for.  She has been reaching for it for a couple of weeks now, so we took one of our old remotes, removed the batteries and let her have it to play with.  She pressed the buttons, and then turned to see if she had had any effect on the TV !!!!  I about fell over with shock. (yes Missy, I am bragging on my child)

She is eating almost all solid pieces of food now.  Some self fed (fingers to mouth.  Her pincer grasp is quite good), some spoon fed by us.  She loves cheerios,  and green peas, and she will just about murder anyone who tries to eat any of her serving of bing cherries.  She loves mushrooms (cooked of course).  She also seems to have a budding passion for watermellon.

The food item we are still behind on is milk products.  She hasn’t really been introduced to cheeses yet.  We’ve done yogurt and cottage cheese, but she wasn’t thrilled and it seemed to have a negative effect on her..um…system.  So we stopped all milk products other than her formula and we will try it again next month.

After much repetition Ginny finally seems to be understanding that Mama and Dada/Papa (she says both) are two different people and that we each have a name.  At first it seemed to be that Mama meant “the person or comfort object that I WANT”  and Dada meant “random object or person” but we think she is finally getting that Dada/Papa is the fun guy with the long hair and beard, while Mama is the cuddly one who doesn’t have a scratcy face.

I never thought I would enjoy a child this young.  I always thought that I wouldn’t be able to relate to a child under the age of about 4.  Thank you LORD above that YOU knew better.  I would not have missed this first year with Ginny for all the money in the world.  She is such a cheerful, sweet, intelligent child.  Total sunshine.

thank you Lord (and Mel) for Ginny.

run the race, or hobble, whatever

Perseverance.

Just keep running. Or walking, limping or even crawling along.

Even when you can’t see progress.

Even when you don’t know if you are doing any good.

Even when no one is thanking you.

Even when it all seems hopeless.

Just. Keep. Going.

Long after you have stopped asking “why?”

When your shoes wear out.

When the strength seems to just be gone.

You find a way to dig deep, find inspiration and keep going.  Just one foot at a time.

This is perseverance.

And so is this.

Kiran

Oh, and here is some inspiration to persevere.

Haven’t joined the race yet?  Click here to find a child who is already running a harder race than any of us here in middle class America can fully comprehend.  You can partner with them.  Encourage them.  Send your love through letters and photos and real tangible on-the-ground assistance.  To help them, and you, carry on.

Run the race.

Persevere.

strawberry fields for ginny

Ginny has now gone through the basic veggies.

carrots, sweet potatoes, green peas, squash, green beans

all were accepted without a fuss.

She is ready to graduate to fruit next week.  But there is one fruit we will not be starting any time soon: strawberries. Because I don’t want this to happen to Ginny like it happened to Ike.  Also it is recommended not to introduce strawberries till at least a full year, some folks even say two years.

So how do you torture a child on a lovely spring day? A child who at 8 months wants to put everything in her mouth and is enjoying new tastes every day?

I’ll tell you how.

When your mother calls in the middle of the day and says “I want to go strawberry picking” you, the sensitive mom blithely says “sure! and don’t forget to dress Ginny up and get photos of her in the strawberry patch”

Sheesh I am SUCH a goober.

poor kid.  She did have fun though.  Even though she REALLY wanted a strawberry.  She doesn’t even know what it is, but she was certain that she wanted to put it in her mouth.

Here is the photographic evidence of my baby brother Stephen and my mother torturing my sweet little Ginny (kidding)

walkin in the berries

walkin in the berries

mmmmm can I have one?

mmmmm can I have one?

I know her face isn't showing but this shot was just too cute

I know her face isn't showing but this shot was just too cute

if you're happy and you know it......

if you're happy and you know it......

um..can I puhleeeeeeease have one Uncle Steve? please?

um..can I puhleeeeeeease have one Uncle Steve? please?

how many different sweet, yummy, makes you wanna just eat them up cutie-pies can we pack into one photo?

how many different sweet, yummy, makes you wanna just eat them up cutie-pies can we pack into one photo?