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.

Advertisements

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.

still grinning from ear to ear

I know I should be posting a recap of this past weekend.  Which was the culmination of a years worth of Scripture Memory Team work with encouragement from the Living Proof Ministries staff.

So here’s the short version –

I met Beth Moore.  I always thought that I would hug her, but she hugged me instead.  Does that make any sense?  It was as if she has always wanted to meet me instead of  the other way around.  Wow what a gift of hospitality God has granted her.

I stayed with a wonderful friend that (till last week) I had only known through blogging.  And our husbands are now best friends too.  Which is kinda freaking us both out.  As in “have we started the end of the world as we know it?”

The event was fantastic.  I got to meet Travis again.  I think it is going to be a once a year “date” for us.  I met him for the first time last year in January.

Last year

this year. (wow, my hair grew a lot in one year!)

We had an eventful time getting home to Atlanta.  Nothing like getting your child all set up and timed right to fall asleep on a 5 p.m. flight and then having the gate agents tell you “the flight has been delayed, please come back in two hours to check and see IF we are going to re-schedule”  IF ???? IF????

I met Beth Moore.  She knew me by my blog name.  She KNEW my blog name!  Give me a couple of years to get over that one okay?  I am STILL reeling from that.  Grinning from ear to ear actually.

Missy found the most amazing Cajun food any of us have ever eaten.  And that is saying quite a lot, ’cause my hubby loves cajun food.

But best of all, God granted me a temporary boost in memory.  Instead of saying the 14 verses that I was sure I would be able to. I recited ALL TWENTY FOUR.  Okay Missy did say I got one word wrong, but ya’ll that was not Me.  I didn’t cram, or try hard or anything.  I just let it go and God came rushing in.

And it was a rush.  It was even better than meeting Beth.  and Amanda.  and Travis.  In a way.

The reason you aren’t getting a real, insightful, spirit-filled re-cap is that I am just too tired.  All three of us came home with colds and/or ear infections.  So I am just plain pooped.

but hey, I got to meet Beth Moore.  Or have I mentioned that already?

Have a great week.

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.

somewhere there is a man…..

Somewhere there is a man…

Who is cursing my name.

How do I know?  Well.  There is a story.

A couple of weeks ago Atlanta had a flood. You may have heard about it.  Creeks and rivers washed over bridges, roads fell apart.  Every where if a road was low lying, it was swamped.

Two days after the flood, the bridge near my mom’s house was closed.  We went the other way.  With construction supplies.  Not to fix the bridge, but to work on kitchen cabinets for my mom.

We got there and did lots of work.  We worked up an appetite.  But no one felt like cooking.  So we ordered Chinese.  Pork Egg Fu Yung and Broccoli Beef if anyone really wants to know.  I was very specific when I called in the order.

“The bridge is OUT from one direction, but if you go this other way – which I will tell you about – the bridge doesn’t come into play at all so your driver will be safe”

Placed order.  Saved driver trouble and hassle of finding his own way to the house.  Gave credit card number.  Good deed for the day done. Supported local business AND saved a life.  Make that TWO good deeds.  Yay me.

Go back to fixing mother’s cabinets.

45 minutes later.

My father wanders out to the mailbox.  I didn’t pay attention.  He was headed out there to leave a brown paper bag filled with clothes for some donation thing he was donating to.  He is always donating stuff.  And no matter how many times we give him sweaters and warm socks he never seems to have enough.  I have my suspicions about that…

Anyway.  My father quietly slipped out of the house to walk down the long driveway.  It is gravel and perhaps a tenth of a mile long.

By the way, since the driveway is gravel, I figure I’ll hear the delivery person when they drive up.  Instead I hear the phone ring.  It’s the delivery guy.

He wants to know where we are located.

I tell him (again) what corner we are on.  He tells me where he turned.  I tell him he is on the wrong side of the bridge (that is out) he will need to turn around, go back to the main street and…

He hung up on me!

Oh well.  I guess he’ll figure it out.

About five minutes later my father walks in the door with our food and a receipt. …….an unsigned receipt.

Apparently the delivery guy decided not to go around as instructed.  He held our order up high and Walked across the dangerous bridge to bring us our food!

Then the poor guy encountered my father.  Who tried to hand him a bag of old clothes.  Daddy thought this was the guy coming to collect donations apparently.  I REALLY wish I could have been a witness to that dialogue!

The poor delivery guy finally got my dad to take the food, and the receipt.  And then my dad just walked back to the house.  Without signing the receipt or tipping the guy or anything!  I was horrified.  Here this guy had braved flood waters and a downed bridge to bring me my food and we didn’t give him anything!

So I called the restaurant and asked if I could do the tip over the phone.  You would not believe how hard it was to convince them to let me do that tip!  I even told them the story and had to talk to three separate people before they finally allowed me to add the tip over the phone.

So that was three good deeds for the day.  Though one was self defense really – I didn’t want this poor brave driver cursing my name for all eternity!

sunday roast is in the oven

Acts 16: 22 – 26

22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.

When this passage is talked about or preached about people tend to concentrate on the moment that the chains fell off.  I want to point out something different.

Paul and Silas had been attacked.  I am certain that right before and during the attack they prayed to God for deliverance.  And in that moment, it looked to them like God didn’t answer.

Paul and Silas were stripped of their clothes.  I am sure they asked God to spare them.  Being without clothes in front of a jeering crowd is a horrific thought.  But in that moment, God let it happen.

Paul and Silas were beaten.  I am positive that they begged God to still the hands of the person holding the whip.  To change the heart of the magistrate who had ordered this.  But in that moment, from their perspective, God did not answer.  He allowed the beating to happen.

Paul and Silas were thrown into prison.  I need no one to tell me that they were pleading with God in their hearts, and perhaps out loud to deliver them. What possible ministry could they hope to have in a prison?  But in that moment, God was still silent.

Paul and Silas lay on the probably filthy floor of that prison.  Their skin flayed open, dirt, grit, sweat, blood, and tears all mingling.  They were hurting.  And the hurt had been going on for hours.  At some point they have to have beseeched God “please Lord, if you must leave us in jail, heal our wounds! Then our jailors will see your glory when they come down here and see that you are our Protector!”

Everyone focuses on the deliverance from prison and I too tend to forget that they went through a long process of hate, attack, fear, beatings, and pain. I cannot for one minute believe that the songs that night around midnight were the first time God had heard from Paul and Silas that day. The Sunday school image of a cheerful Paul and Silas with their limbs semi comfortably arranged in chains is just so wrong.  They were praying and singing hymns to God the bible says.  Do you imagine that they were singing “clap your hands all ye people”? Or something more akin to “the Battle Hymn of the Republic” ???

It would have been so easy for them to cry out to God “You let us down! You let Your enemies attack us, beat us and now you have left us here to rot!”  How many times do we go through trials  (infertility, joblessness, hate and harassment, ridicule) and when God doesn’t answer the way we were expecting we assume that means that He has abandoned us or that we did something wrong.  “Lord, I’ve prayed and prayed and you haven’t delivered me yet!”  But what if the reason was so that you could cross paths with someone further down the path?  Someone that needs to see you trusting in God.

On the other hand there is only so much we can learn from seeing others trusting God while they suffer.  I really think the reason God needs us to stew in a particular problem for a while is that WE OURSELVES need time to learn.  Time for the lesson of God’s sovereign care for us and over our lives to sink in.  Time for us to, in effect get spiritually tenderized.  No roast ever got tender by watching another roast cook. eh?

So it’s time for me to apply this lesson to myself.

No matter how much I learn from reading or hearing about other people’s lives and trials and tribulations, there will be things I can only learn from going through it myself.

I hold up pretty well in emergencies.  Quick disasters.  High heat, short cook time. Those are no problem for me.  It is the long drawn out situations  – like infertility, and learning to hold my tongue at work – those are my bugbears.  The ones that completely trip me up.  The slow cooker situations are the ones that get me in trouble.  I’ve always just accepted that I’m not good at them.

Recently I’ve been coming to the conclusion that I don’t have to be good at them.  I just have to remember that God IS Good at these long slow drawn out situations and learn to trust Him.

Also it finally hit me that the best way to tenderize my soul is to put it through a long, slow, low heat scenario.  The end result is a tender, gorgeous, tantalizing meal.  Much better than charred steak.

The scent wafts through the house on a Sunday afternoon…you know what I’m talking about.  A portion of beef, potatoes, onions, celery, and carrots.   Seasoned just right.  The beef was seared this morning, then put in a large pan and seasoned.  Vegetables were cut up and tossed in.  The whole thing is covered.  They have been cooking slowly in your mother’s oven or crock pot the whole time the family was at church.  And now the gorgeous aroma fills the house.

I want the aroma of my soul to fill God’s nostrils with that type of scent.  Warm, promising, delectable and oh so tender.  Just like Paul and Silas.

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.