Monday, December 5, 2011

Monster Brother Love

Our five-year-old son came upstairs to fill his water cup, then headed back down to the basement play room. At the top of the stairs he paused and shouted out to his seven-year-old sister, "A-, I love you!" Then stomped down the wooden stairs, calling, "Here comes the hug and kiss monster! Grrrrrrrarrr! Grrrrrrarrr!"

You've just got to love that monster brother love.

I was in their room with them the other day, when they started telling each other how much they love each other, and how great the other person was.

"I love you, I-. You're the best brother in the whole world."

"I love you too, A-. You're the best sister in the world."

Okay, so perhaps this very human mommy and daddy haven't messed them up after all.

Or perhaps Jesus is just that good. Yeah. I think that's it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love Means

Love means never having to say you're sorry. - Love Story
I saw this old quote on Facebook today. I've always disliked it. Why? According to this mentality, love means never having to apologize for hurting that significant other. Love means you never have to admit you were wrong. Love means you can protect your pride. It's extremely convenient. And it's a load of hogwash.

To quote another book:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Yeah, in light of that, real love would never have anything to apologize for. Love unadulterated sets a high standard. For those of us who don't love perfectly (every human being), any bit of real, genuine love existing in our souls will prompt uswhen our pride doesn't get in the wayto say those all-important words "I'm sorry" for failing in that perfect measure.

So hopefully you can see why I dislike that quote. It feels like a cop out. I think true love means knowing when to say you're sorry...and saying it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets

Rosh Hashanah, the civil Jewish calendar's new year, begins tonight. Rosh Hashanah is known in scripture as Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets. It is observed on the first two days of Tishri, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Why two days instead of one? The only Biblical feast to come with the new moon, its date could not be calculated exactly during the days of Scripture. One had to watch for the new moon, and its appearance in the sky had to be verified by two or more witnesses. For this reason, the Feast of Trumpets is known as "the feast of which no man knows the day or the hour." Christian friends, does that phrase sound familiar to you? If yes, there's a reason.

In addition to the Shabbat (Sabbath), there are seven yearly Biblical feasts commanded by the Lord, known in Hebrew as HaMoadim, or God's appointed times. And, true to their collective Biblical name, these feasts belong to the Lord. Foundational to all of Scripture, understanding them is essential if you want to truly grasp Biblical prophecy and eschatology.

Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach, fulfilled (and I do not mean ended, there is a distinct difference) the first four of His feasts with His first coming: Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Hag Hamatzot), First Fruits (Yom Habikkurim), and Pentecost (Shavuot). The last three will be fulfilled with His second coming: Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). His statement that "No man knows the day nor the hour," refers to His fulfillment of the Feast of the last trump. The statement is true on its surface as well, because He said Himself that only our Heavenly Father knows when He will send His Son to return for His bride here on earth.

Scripture comes alive in amazing ways with mere glimpses of the Hebrew roots, the largely unseen anchor of our faith. Press in; dig deeper. A rabbi once told me that you could spend 70 lifetimes as a Torah student and barely scratch the surface. How much more depth is there to Scripture when you add in the Torah Incarnate, Jesus Christ?

So take a step outside tonight and look up at the starry sky. Spot that new moon if you can, and remember both Jesus' promise in Revelation 22, "Yes, I am coming quickly," and John's response: "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Until His return, L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu! May you be inscribed [in the (Lamb's) Book of Life] for a new year!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Tonight my husband was trying to explain the meaning of the word "profound" to our children. He used the example of our daughter telling him probably a year ago that "Jesus dying for us is the most important thing." After a minute or two, she said, "Daddy, what if we could see Jesus dying on the cross? If I could see Him, I would kiss Him before he died for us. Right on the lips. I bet he would like that. Jesus is part of our family."

Monday, August 29, 2011


I can't imagine life without writing. Actually, that's something of a lie. I've gone through dry non-writing spells several times. My life is so much brighter, more joyful when I write.

For a writer, to write is to breathe.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Handy Kitchen Trick: Zipper Bags

Zipper bags are useful for all sorts of things--freezing fruits, veggies, leftovers, even sauces and broths. But one of my favorite uses for a zipper bag is restaurant left-overs.
I thought everyone knew this little fact, but I was recently informed otherwise by an avid restaurant diner. So, here is my gift to you this week: An average-sized to-go box will fit perfectly in a gallon-sized zipper storage or freezer bag. No more stinky Chinese fridge. No more ice that tastes like the remnants of your last visit to Olive Garden. And no more having to dump all your restaurant leftovers into a plastic or glass lidded container. Just slip the to-go box into the zipper bag, seal it, and stick it in the fridge. Voila!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baking Tip of the Week: The Freezer is Your Friend

When making a custom cake that requires carving the layers, freeze them first.
Wrap them well in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer until they're frozen solid. Cake layers are much easier to carve when frozen. Plus, freezing shrinks the crumb, so your cake doesn't crumble when you slice it up and serve it to your guests.
No, freezing the layers in this manner does not dry out your cake if you wrap it well. You get a dried-out cake when the grocery store bakery freezes cakes already decorated.
Just don't leave the layers in your freezer for months on end and then expect them to still be good. I'd say two weeks, at most. Usually, I bake and freeze the day before I decorate.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Full Custody

While vacationing in Virginia this weekend, we drove past a church sign that sported these words: "God wants full custody, not just a weekend visit."

Does God have full custody of me? Or do I just drop in for weekend visits?

Rainbow House

As we were driving Virginia mountain back roads in the rain today, four-year-old son piped up and said, "Daddy, when it stops raining, make our house new. And paint it rainbow colored. Every color in the world. Okay, Daddy?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cobbler Dot Com

A few months ago my husband overheard our four year old playing with his beloved Cobbler, a ragged plush cat toy. In the midst of his play, he said, "Go to www dot cobbler dot com for more details."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dying to Self

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. - Philippians 2:5-8

My brother from Living Hope Ministries gave me this verse on Monday and gave me a powerful insight to accompany it (which is also shared by John Loren and Paula Sanford in their book Transforming the Inner Man ).

Transformation into the image of Christ comes in two parts. Jesus' blood is applied for the forgiveness of sins. That is done completely by Him. All we can do is accept it. But if you stop there, you will not experience true transformation. Transformation comes only through the cross. The cross is there for death and resurrection power. To experience true freedom in Christ, to be transformed into the image of God, we must allow our sin patterns to be crucified. Daily.

It's a miserable death. And what makes it worse is that we can't complete it alone. Crucifixion is a death that only happens at the hands of others. Our part is choosing to stay on the proverbial cross and let our sin nature die when we're nailed to it--usually by those closest to us.

...let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2

The other side of the cross holds great joy for us, just as it did for our Savior, but death must occur before resurrection power can be fully experienced.
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus...He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Jesus warned us that a cross would be involved. In Matthew 6:24, He says "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." He promised us persecution, and He ordered us to forgive. The two go hand in hand. Forgive as He forgave us. It's one of the hardest hills we'll ever have to climb, and becoming like Christ requires that we do it daily.

Perhaps Paul put it best:

...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:10-14

I always suspected this prize Paul speaks of was something we could only achieve after death, but Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and that we can take hold of it here and now. This climb is a difficult one, but His grace abounds in our feeble attempts at obedience, and His strength is perfected in our weakness. We can reach the other side of the cross one heart issue at a time. And the wholeness, freedom, victory, and joy we experience on the other side outshines the painful struggle we endure like a blinding light.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Glorious Moments

Have you ever had one of those experiences with God that leaves you completely and utterly, inexplicably, amazingly light?

And free.

He steps into your chaos and, through His amazing creative power, redeems what you had come to believe was a permanent wasteland. He removes the albatross hanging heavy around your neck. He shifts the realm of light, casting beautiful truth on the lies that had held you captive.

Sure, you're still a human being in this fallen world. You still have some baggage. But for one stunning moment in time, He lets you taste and see that He is breathtakingly good.

Those are glorious moments, my friends. Glorious.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spring Spiders

This little spider is perched on one of my favorite native blooms, commonly known as Spiderwort or Spider Lily. Don't the two make a perfect pair?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Love

I just watched this male cardinal pluck a sunflower seed from a feeder and shell it. He then fluttered to another nearby feeder, where his mate was perched, and handed her the shelled seed. I took this shot of him a couple days ago, but I really wish I'd had my camera in hand today.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Decluttering Life (A Book Review of Sorts)

I've recently purchased a book that is slowly changing my life.

It stared with the truckload of things I inherited from my grandmother a few years ago and which have taken over our home. Platinum ringed china. Silverplate goblets. Leaded crystal. A random, mismatched china teapot. Silverplate serving dishes and spoons. A partial set of silver flatware. Brass ornamental pieces. Some depression glass (I'm keeping that). And furniture. Heaven help me, the furniture.

Add all that to our already cluttered home, and we have a suffocating mess. I've been avoiding it for a year or so, not wanting to take the time out of our already busy schedules to go through all this...stuff. But clutter can literally sap you of your energy. I literally felt trapped by this inherited albatross.

Then I happened across The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, by Francine Jay. Don't be misled or turned off by the title. You won't be channeling Thoreau, building a cabin in Emerson's woods to escape society—though would that be so bad? It's simply a guide to altering your attitude about things, and, through that, experiencing freedom from clutter.

I added the book to my order. I got it a few days later and couldn't put it down. Its clean white covers contained an epiphany that, in turn, provided a great paradigm shift. To put it simply, I no longer feel an obligation to keep Granny's stuff or my own useless accumulations. These are just things. Things that are in the way.

I first tackled my kitchen, then took some pictures of Granny's china—which take up much less space on my hard drive than 10 seven-piece place settings complete with serving dishes, did in my dining room—and boxed them up for the donation pile. Maybe someone else will find joy in them.

I'm champing at the bit to go through the rest of this house. I can't get the stuff out fast enough. I'm determined that our home will become an oasis of space to live, where a body can stretch out and play, with plenty of room to do the things we truly enjoy. We should not have to work, walk, and live around useless stuff.

I have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the sweet victory of empty space. I never thought I'd be a minimalist, but I do believe, after a little application, I could live comfortably on the simple side of life.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Your Experience or His Word?

After years of observation, I have come to the conclusion that Christians approach God one of two ways. We either interpret Scripture in a way that makes it line up with our own personal experiences, or we let Scripture speak for itself and question why our experiences don't line up with Scripture.

I see this often regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it crops up in less obvious and much more insidious ways as well.

For example, most of us define God according to our relationships and experiences with our earthly fathers, rather than what the Bible says. If you had a distant or absent father, you'll be more inclined to see God as distant. If your dad was a strict disciplinarian, chances are your view of God is much the same.

If we've experienced a major loss or defeat in our lives, those statements in Scripture that offer victory and blessing can be hard to swallow. And we may find ourselves doubting those passages of Scripture altogether.

These are just two examples of the plethora I could give you, and I'm quite sure you could come up with many more of your own. The question is, which is correct: our personal experiences, or the Word of God?

The ultimate challenge for believers, it seems, is to set aside our preconceived notions built on past experiences and old wounds--to surrender them, if you will--and take God at His word. To let God's Word redefine our lives, and not the other way around.

I'll be the first to confess that I struggle with this. As we come to the time of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, to the celebration of the moment when He defeated death and hell and set the captives free, I believe it's good to examine our hearts and find these subtle areas we have not surrendered or experienced freedom.

I'm praying today as David did, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."

I don't know about you, but I want my life to line up with His Word and cease trying to force the Word to line up with my life.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snow White Cake

Here's a Snow White cake I made for my mom's birthday.

The cake was lemon with lemon buttercream. The doll's clothing and headband are all fondant.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Red and White Cake

This cake was a gift for our homeschool co-op director at her retirement.

The roses are sugarpaste. The cake is french vanilla with buttercream icing, covered in fondant. The lettering and red damask on the white layers are royal icing. The red layer in the middle is quilted and adorned with sugar pearls.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Catching Up

Wow, it's been nearly a month since I last posted. Well, I've been busy. As a catch-up, here are a couple pictures of the cake that ended up being the final resting place of those little cherry blossoms I made in my previous post.

The blossoms took a while to make, but the end result was perfect.

This particular cake was for a baby shower, hence the nest. Bird, nest and eggs were all hand made of fondant.

Actually, I think the cake would also work nicely for a wedding. Just replace the nest with another bird to make a pair.

Under all that pink fondant, there's a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

Here are some of the fondant/sugarpaste cherry blossoms I made for an upcoming baby shower cake. These aren't simple cutter-stamped flowers. I molded and shaped each one by hand. They take a long time, but the end result is something special.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Marriage in Bloom

My sweet husband sent me three dozen roses on Friday for Valentine's Day. Thirty six tight blood-red buds. They were lovely. They're even prettier five days later, in full bloom.

We've seen twelve years come and go since we said our vows, and those years were filled with life. Beautiful, difficult, often mundane life that's complete because we're walking side-by-side through it. Like those tight rosebuds, when we first got married, things were exciting and new. But with each passing year, I can honestly say that life with my husband keeps getting better, like a rose slowly unfolding to reveal its full splendor through the course of a lifetime.

Thank you for sharing your life with me, Doug. I love you. And thank You, Lord, for an amazing husband who has given me a better understanding of Christ's love for his bride.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mommy Grace

My husband came out of the bathroom after giving the kids a bath and said that our daughter told him, "Daddy, I know I won't be as good a mommy as Mommy is. She's so sweet."

Thank God for His grace that covers all my mistakes and lets my daughter see beyond how I see myself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tiered Daisy Cake

Here's that tiered daisy cake I mentioned in my previous post. I think it turned out well.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fondant Daisies

I just love daisies. I do believe they're one of God's most cheerful flowers. I made these fondant daisies today for a friend's anniversary cake.

Friday, February 4, 2011

You Might Be a Writer...

if you notice people eyeing you at the grocery store and realize that you were running through dialogue again, out loud.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pretty Wrong

This morning my sweet daughter proudly announced, "Look, Mommy, I did a beautiful a. Aren't my letters beautiful?" I looked, and sure enough, her handwriting was excellent. Except for one problem: she was supposed to write the word branch. She wrote brach instead. Her answer was pretty, but it was wrong.

I praised her for her handwriting, then asked what she'd written. She realized her mistake and erased part of the word to correct it.

My little girl's mistake was innocent, and she readily accepted the correction. But how often do we get so caught up in the appearances of things that we miss the essential ingredients that add true value to our work? How often are we pretty wrong? And how willing are we to accept correction when we miss it completely?

We can make everything look perfect, but if it's wrong, it's still wrong. That's our life without Jesus. He's the missing letter. Are we putting Him in His proper place in each aspect of our lives? In writing and work? Parenting? Socializing? Life?

It's hard to get away from performance, but Jesus calls us to do just that, to take our eyes off our pride and seek Him for our approval, not man.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grace Walks By

There's a powerful song by the artist eLi, called Grace Walks By. It's about that universal choice we are each faced with, many on a daily basis: forgiveness. The Lord brings me back to that song during different seasons of my life, and each time it's appropriate. I wanted to provide a link to the song itself, but it has, sadly, escaped notice and never been placed on youtube. If you're inclined, the song is worth purchasing. The entire album is profound, and the music is simple and gentle.

Here are the lyrics. They so eloquently capture the sentiment I'd like to express, that it would be silly for me to write them any other way. Perhaps they will bless you as they have me.

Grace Walks By
from the album "Second Hand Clothing"
by eLi

She was so beautiful
Lightning in her hair
She was in his sight
But the flashing lights
Of resentment filled his eyes
Left him scared and blind

Life is cold now
He wishes he could see

Forgiveness walks right by him
But he can't see her face
It's bitterness that blinds him
Oh, she walks up to him
He would look her in the eyes
If he still believed in grace
Still believed in grace

He used to dance with her
This old man in a chair
Now he don't walk no more
They used to dance like the wind
Until a storm blew him down
Left him broken on the floor

Life is slow now
He wishes he could reach

Forgiveness dances by him
But he can't join her
Cuz bitterness leads instead
Oh, she reaches for him
And he would take her hand
If she could raise the dead
Oh, she could raise the dead

Looking back now
At what others have missed
I am pleading
For redemption's kiss

Forgiveness walks up to me
And i will join her
Cuz bitterness leads to death
Oh, she reaches for me
And i will take her hand
Together we will dance
Oh, together we will dance

Friday, January 21, 2011

Their Goodbyes

“I’m getting tired of this,” she said with a sigh.

“Of what? Of dying?” he asked.


"You ready to go?"


He nodded, the recognition reflecting in his own weary eyes. “I’m okay with that. Just remember where you’re going. And I’ll meet you on the other side. Real soon.”

My Grandma Nina, my stepmom's mother, passed away yesterday after a battle with lung cancer. Folks often refer to a person as "losing" their battle with cancer when they die. But Grandma Nina didn't lose anything. You see, she knew the Person who created her body, and she trusted Him to the very last breath.

That's why she and Grandpa Preston were able to have that conversation just a couple weeks ago. Because they both know Him and trust Him. They know He is good, and they know that He keeps His promises.

Nina was a beautiful woman inside and out. The peace that radiated from her throughout her walk through the Valley of the Shadow proved what most don't realize, that even death is not our battle. It's His. And the good news: He's already won.

My dad put it best when he said that while watching Grandma Nina, "you really get what the Bible means when it says Jesus takes the sting out of death."

Grandma Nina, Thank you for blessing your family, even us extended members, with unconditional love, kindness, joy and acceptance. Thank you for showing your family how to live—and die—by faith. We were blessed to have you. We're going to miss you deeply. But our hearts rejoice that you are now in our Creator's presence, and He's offered us the same hope and promise you so beautifully enjoyed in Him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie Just Like This

I made a chicken pot pie. From scratch. Even the pie crust was made by yours truly.

Okay, so it's not the prettiest pot pie in the world, but hey, it was from scratch. And it was delicious.

But don't take my word for it. The dear husband and I were discussing this dish's caloric content over dinner last night (don't don't want to know), and I suggested using milk instead of heavy cream, or better yet, leaving out the cream entirely. I personally like broth-based fillings better than cream-based anyway.

About this time, the official Pickiest Eater on Earth, aka my daughter, piped up and said, "No, Mommy. The next time you make it, you have to make it just like this."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Manicure (also known as The Alternate Third Level of Hell)

A few weeks ago my awesome husband came home after visiting the parts store and announced that he wanted to take our son to the monster truck rally. I decided this would be a great opportunity for a mother-daughter date as well, so I scheduled for my six-year-old daughter and I to visit the local kids' spa for manicures/pedicures.

Fast forward to yesterday and our big mommy/daughter date. We started off with dinner at Moe's, because, well, we were both in the mood for chain southwestern cuisine.

Then we went to a local salon and spa for kids that some friends had recommended (local friends, contact me if you want the name), which uses organic products. A party of probably eight prepubescent girls was already there for a birthday party, getting the works: manicures, pedicures, facials and up-dos as the birthday girl's mother (very nice lady, I later found out) looked on. We were a little early, so we browsed through the very small retail section of the spa while we waited for our turn. A woman called us back and started us off by getting us to choose nail colors then soaking our hands in cool, soapy water. This was okay. My daughter and I chatted for a few minutes about the nail colors we'd selected as our hands soaked. Then the woman patted our hands dry and applied lotion. She walked away because one of the birthday party attendants was removing her mudmask prematurely. In the interim, my daughter said, "Mommy, my hands itch. Really bad. They won't stop."

I looked at my daughter's hands. Both were red and splotchy. Allergic reaction. To the lotion, I figured. I alerted the staff, who immediately said this was the first time anything like that had happened. The mother of the birthday girl was nearby, and she said it also looked like an allergic reaction to her. The staff led me to a sink, where I washed the lotion off her hands. Then I fished some Aveeno (has oatmeal, excellent for allergic and sensitive skin) out of my purse and slathered her hands well. This soothed them, and she seemed to be fine--a fluke, really, especially since she's never had an allergic reaction before--so we held out our hands, and the employee painted our nails for us.

A moment or two into our nail polish application, the birthday party mom got the attendant's attention. All four of the girls who'd just received mud masks were breaking out in large hives all over their faces.


The birthday mom and I looked at each other, and though we'd never met, we were of the same mind, both wondering if we should bail on this place for health and safety's sake, or press through so as not to disappoint our respective child(ren). The attendants discussed the situation before us. They couldn't figure out what had happened. They'd used an organic facial product. Every ingredient was 100% organic, according to the product information. As the attendant led the hive-inflicted girls to the back of the store to wash their faces, I eyed my daughter, whose hands were starting to turn back to their normal color under the calming balm of the Aveeno. She was enjoying herself despite the skin reaction, so I decided to proceed with caution.

Another attendant finished up our manicures, then passed us back to the first attendant for our pedis. No lotion this time, I said. The attendant agreed. She brought out cool soapy water to soak our feet, and my daughter and I snapped a few pictures of ourselves with my camera phone. Had to capture our girl's night out, right?

The attendant returned after getting all of the party girls settled down with cupcakes and dried our feet, then stepped away with our soaking bowls, and my daughter said, "Mommy, my ankles hurt. Ohh, they really hurt!"

I looked down, and her ankles were swelling!

The birthday mom, who was standing nearby, looked at me and shook her head. The attendants scrambled. One went to a Mexican market a few doors down and bought a sample packet of Benadryl while another carried her to the sink so I could wash her feet. "I didn't use lotion," the attendant said. "It must have been the soap." So we get her feet and ankles washed, and I slather Aveeno on her poor little feet and large, egg-like ankles.

The other attendant returned with a sample packet of Benadryl. My daughter, who has never swallowed a pill before, couldn't get it down. She spit it out after trying unsuccessfully to swallow it. I normally have liquid Benadryl on-hand because of my son's food allergy, but if you'll remember, he was at a monster truck rally with his daddy. So...

I watched her. She was breathing fine. Nothing else was swelling. She didn't want to leave without getting her toenails painted. So I pulled out my camera phone and snapped a few pics of her poor ankles. And we stayed. The swelling was almost completely gone within twenty minutes, and she selected a head band and a stretchy, sparkly bracelet from the little retail kiosks at the front of the salon.

But all the while I wondered if the other mom and I had made the right decision in staying. Either way, I doubt I'll ever return to that salon. I'm not quite sure I feel comfortable paying $60 for two allergic reactions again.

When we left the salon, we went to Walmart, where we bought some more Benadryl and some nail polish. We both decided a home manicure and pedicure would be just as much fun, without all the drama. Plus, I'd get to hold her hand as I painted her nails myself. I can't get much better than that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Soul Excavation and Book Therapy

I'm beginning a Bible study/soul excavation/book therapy/study group of sorts with three other awesome women, using the fantastic book Strong Women Soft Hearts (SWSH) by Paula Rinehart. We're reading a chapter a week and going through the study questions in the back of the book. I've read sections of this book over and over again, and now I'm excited to read it all the way through with an accountability group of sorts.

I already can tell SWSH is going to be amazing because of five things that have impressed me so far. Granted, none of these factors taken alone would necessarily make a book outstanding, but put them all together, and you've got a least, for me:

1) Relevant. Seriously. I've gotten something deep out of every section I've read in the book so far. The author is engaging, and the topics are surprisingly relevant.

2) Honest. SWSH takes you right to the heart of the matter, elegantly cutting through all the bull.

3) Challenging. Rinehart gently challenges you to get honest too, to take a good look at the things and places that hurt, which brings me to my third point...

4) Biblically based. This author isn't just another self-appointed self-help guru. She grounds the points in scripture and brings you to a place of opportunity without a great deal of pressure. Will you let God excavate those hurt places with you as you self-examine, so that you can finally experience healing and freedom through Him?

5) Emotionally mature. SWSH doesn't shy away from emotion, yet it avoids emotional manipulation.

Enough said.

If you've read this book, I'd love your comments. Feel free to share.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Drivers

What is it about white flakes falling from the sky that makes normally sane individuals drive like morons? Coasting through red lights, cutting people off, ignoring stop signs. It's like snow short-circuits their synapses. Or perhaps they think wintry precipitation negates all state traffic laws. And this is before there's any accumulation. At the first sign of snow crystals drifting from on high, all common sense vanishes.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Delightful quote I saw on someone's facebook profile:
G.K. Chesterton once quipped that before you remove any fence always first ask why it was put there in the first place. You see, every boundary set by God points to something worth protecting, and if you are to protect the wonder of existence, God's instruction book is the place to turn. Anyone who thinks that he or she can place the boundaries arbitrarily will either destroy the enchantment of life or wear himself into exhaustion. God's commands are there to protect what life is truly about, not the other way around. Implementing that truth in our lives keeps us from losing the wonder. ~Ravi Zacharias