Monday, September 28, 2009

Five Words, Five Insights

The lovely Beverly at Dancing With the Daffodils shared a meme where she had gotten five words from someone else, then wrote what they made her think of, thereby revealing something of herself to us. She invited me to play, and sent me my five words. I have expounded on them below. Enjoy! (And if this is something you'd like to try, let me know and I'll come up with five words for you to write about!)

Moment - It has been my experience that life can change in a moment. When things are good, I savor them thoroughly, because I know they might change. When things are bad, I don't despair because I know they will not stay bad.

I have also been learning to live in the moment. I have struggled in the past with thinking of all the things I should be doing with the result that no matter what I was doing at the time, I thought I should be doing something else. I never felt accomplished or satisfied because there was so much more to do. My husband has worked hard at teaching me to enjoy the process. When I am working on something, I am trying to give myself permission to concentrate on it, focus so that I can do a good job, enjoy the process and take a moment or two to bask in the satisfaction of a job done well. I get at least as much done as I did before, and probably more because it takes a lot of time to stress and worry!

The best moment is still to come! "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)

Finish - When I am finished with my life, I want my Savior to be able to say "Well done, good and faithful servant." I have a problem with finishing things, though. I'm much better at beginning. I begin a story, a diet, an exercise program, a garden - but too often I'm on to the next beginning, before I finish the preceding one. I guess learning to live in the moment will help with that.

Sound - I have discovered that I am very sensitive to sound. People's voices either soothe or grate. I don't make judgments about people because of their appearance. But I've been known to do it because of their voices. My boys used to complain because my ears are so sensitive they felt like they got in trouble just for talking. I felt like they were re-enacting WWII in my living room. Luckily that's what they make "outside," where boys should be, for! (Having said that, though, I really love the sound of my sons' voices). My ears physically hurt if sound is too loud. I speak very softly. I get in trouble all the time because people can't hear me. When I try to talk loudly, or I get mad and yell, it hurts my throat. My favorite sound is my husband's voice.

Carry - I loved carrying my babies. I mean after they were born, carrying them in my arms. I didn't want to use a baby carrier. I wanted to be the baby carrier. I did use a snugglie so they'd be right there even when I needed to be hands-free. When I had two babies a year apart, I would carry one on each hip to balance them out, or one on my back and one on my front. I loved the feel of them, little living bean bags, warm, fragrant, cuddly bundles of love.

Fact - I am not an overly emotional person. Not most of the time anyway. I'm pretty pragmatic and just kind of deal with what is, rather than moaning about how I wish it was. There are blessings to be found in just about everything, if I look for them. So I like facts. That's why I'm a Christian. When I look at the facts they all point to the word of God being True, just like Jesus says it is. Truth and fact are not exactly the same thing, but something can't be true and not be a fact. Now granted sometimes it doesn't seem that way. It can be a very hard truth, counter-intuitive or hard to understand. People say that's where faith comes in and they are right, but not for the reasons a lot of people think. It isn't that you have to have faith because something isn't true, but because it is and you can't see it. It is pointless to have faith in something that isn't true, and that's a fact! "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Evidence, not just wishes. I have studied the Bible all my life and I've verified enough of it as fact that I can confidently have faith that the parts I don't understand are true.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze, Dirty Dancing and My Friend Heather

I was so sorry to hear that Patrick Swayze died. I loved to watch him dance. We watched Dirty Dancing for the first time in its entirety a few weeks ago. (I'd seen snippets on t.v. before). I wasn't at all sure it would be our kind of movie, but it was actually pretty good. I especially enjoyed, what else, the dancing! I went to school with one of the dancers and was very close friends with her sister, Julie, in middle school. Her name is Heather Gerdes and I met her when she was a 7th grader with waist length hair. I spent time with her talented family, even went to their rehearsal and a recital once, so I guess I "knew her when." She was featured quite a bit, even dancing briefly with Patrick Swayze at one point. I knew she'd gone all over the world to teach dance and do choreography after the movie came out. I found a bio of her here. Apparently she's a script supervisor now. We enjoyed the movie much more than we expected we would, and I was impressed with how often she was shown. I thought I might post about it some time, but then when I heard that Patrick Swayze had died, I decided to pay tribute to him as well. I knew him only as an actor and dancer, but my heart goes out to his family and friends who really knew him as a person.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ode to Bread (and Lawry's!)

I love to make bread of all kinds. It is so much heartier and more flavorful then store bought. It has texture and substance and it smells wonderful. Plus it is fun to make. I used to do all of my bread making completely by hand. Kneading large balls of dough for up to 10 minutes at a time is quite a workout! At some point, my husband used his entire bonus to buy me a top of the line Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a bread hook and large bowl with my name engraved on it! It became my new best friend.

Sometimes I make just loaves of plain, white bread, transformed by being hot, crusty and fresh. Whole wheat and grains of various kinds make a hearty bread that is practically a meal unto itself. Cinnamon-brown sugar raisin bread is more of a dessert than a staple. I make my own pizza crust, too. But I think maybe my favorite is garlic bread! First I make two long loaves of French bread. I mix and knead the dough in my amazing mixer, let it rise for an hour, then punch it down and form it in to loaves. After it rises some more, I pop it in the oven until it is golden.
Then for garlic bread, I would mix Lawry's Garlic Spread with a stick of margarine, heating them both until they melted. Cutting the slightly cooled bread down the middle, and then across the sides into pieces, I would carefully spoon the hot mixture on to the individual pieces and after it soaked down in to the bread, back in the oven it went to crisp up a bit. Unbelievably good with spaghetti and meatballs, this bread was a major hit in my house. It was good with salad the next day, too!
But then Lawry's stopped carrying the spread. Yikes! What to do, what to do. I tried just using the minced garlic mix they sell in jars, but that didn't have the right texture because of the bits of garlic in the oil. I started making Parmesan Garlic Breadsticks, and they were very good, but not as good as our former bread. Finally, a tad discouraged, I resorted to just having store-bought bread with butter while I gave it some thought. But this past week in the grocery, my husband decided to try to find something else that might do. And lo and behold, he discovered four jars of Lawry's Garlic Spread! Naturally we bought all four! We are hoping very much that Lawry's saw the error of their ways and decided to begin making the spread again, but one can't be too careful. But for now, I have my spread; so tonight is spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread! The sauce is homemade and simmers in the crockpot all day. The meatballs (yes, of course, from scratch!) are in the oven as we speak. The french bread is rising. Later I will boil the noodles (no, I did not make them myself, although some day I intend to try). A few veggies or a salad and we have a winner! Here, have a cyber bite!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sunset Beach

This past weekend, we headed out to the beach for a sunset stroll. We've been going about once a week since spring and it is a highlight of the week. As soon as we step out on to the sand, I can feel my blood pressure going down a few notches. Taking a deep breath of the salty brine, we walk along the shore, seeming to keep pace with all manner of boats skimming across the bay. There are sailboats, yachts, Coast Guard cutters, barges, speedboats, Sunset Cruise boats, and many more.
My honey holds my hand, making sure I don't trip on driftwood, leaving me free to gaze clear to the horizon. Mullet jump while seagulls, herons, and other sea birds wheel and dive, their raucous cries filling the air. Often the tide is low, leaving tide pools to explore, full of baby horseshoe crabs, starfish and living shells. Often we will spot a dolphin swimming parallel to the shore fishing for dinner.
Lots of people come to fish for dinner as well, some with poles and some with nets. Others paddle kayaks and canoes, swim, look for shells, fly kites, sail, walk, and picnic. Sometimes the sky is clear and blue, with blazing sun; other days storms blow in, stirring up the waves in to froth and making interesting patterns with the clouds.
When the sun gets low enough, all eyes turn to see what colors it will bring this time. Sometimes it is delicate, pale pastels, edging the clouds and turning the sand pink where the tide has filled little pools on the shore. Other nights it is a bold orange and melts like butter down in to the sea. We watch in awe until the last bit of color is gone, then turn toward the magnificent moonrise to head home, sleepy and content with the beauty God has provided.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Knights and Door Knobs

My youngest son spent the long weekend in Ocala at a King's Coronation, as well as Carnivale. The Society for Creative Anachronism crowned the King of Trimaris and celebrated the new Queen's birthday. The SCA (linked here) basically is about all things medieval. Every winter there is a Medieval Faire, (where jousting is my favorite activity) - this is an extended version. Everyone dresses in period garb, and people feast, ride really big horses, dance at a Masque, have sword and rapier fights and tournaments, shop in booths full of handmade items, learn juggling, archery and knife throwing, and play a wild game of living chess. A very fine way to spend a weekend!

Meanwhile, hubby and I shopped at Lowe's for doorknobs and deadbolts. We were about to settle for the cheapie knobs when, in the ta-da, nick of time, we discovered an amazing sale on really primo ones. They had been $60 a piece, but because that brand is being discontinued in this store, they were going for $7.50 each. The "cheapie" ones we had been prepared to buy were $8.50! So we did good. These are heavy, solid brass, and very classy. Not to mention how much easier they were to install, according to hubby. Often Lowe's has clearance sales of unbelievable proportions, esp. on Sundays.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September is Back and So Am I

I thank you for your kindness in bearing with me, after what may have seemed like a melodramatic statement when I posted last. I wrote it in the impulsive aftermath of an emotional night. My dislike of August has nothing whatsoever to do with the weather, but with a deep sorrow. After all these years I had thought it would not be so sharp. Indeed I get through some Augusts almost unscathed. Other years I am blindsided by what amounts to a tsunami through my heart. I would have liked to say a tsunami of my soul because to my writer's ear it sounds better. But I cannot because despite my pain, God has kept my soul firmly in His grasp. But as anyone who has a hidden sorrow - and I am beginning to think that is all of us - I needed a time of solitude and renewal. Prayer and Scripture, physical activity and creative endeavors have helped me with my grief. After all, God says precious in His sight are the death of His holy ones. We who are yet clothed in weak flesh need sometimes to rediscover that death is not the end of life.
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