Monday, May 31, 2010

English Daisy

"Don't you think Daisies are the friendliest flower?"
-Kathleen Kelly, You've Got Mail, 1998

First the poppies, and now this:

The other flowers are following suit and showing their pretty faces.
I said "hello!" and "welcome back!" recently to our English Daisies. Also known as Bellis Perennis, in the family of asteraceae. The most notable feature of English Daisies are the tubular petals. A baby has only 2-3 layers of these petals. As it matures, the layers increase in number.

Happy Memorial Day!

Thanking God today for those who put other's first; for those who are so brave and fierce in their love for our Country.

God Bless America.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Only The Best

...for our baby.

Note: image has been cropped to show guilty party.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Beauty of the Earth

By Folliott S. Pierpoint
He hath made all things beautiful. – Ecclesiastes 3:11

For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies:
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light:
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child;
Friends on earth and friends above; for all gentle thoughts and mild:
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thy church that evermore lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

It is good to give thanks to our God who can heal.
Please pray for our friends Cyrus and Jonie and their sweet children.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


My day is blurry because I am fixated on me,
the way my day was meant to carry on,
and the people who made it go wrong--
so wrong

And I can stew and steam over those things
and I can convince myself that it feels good
to focus on me and the way I have been wronged,
But I am askew.

And what is "wrong"? And who
can be hurt? And it's up to me to
decide if I will be distressed, isn't it
or if I will respond instead with hope?

And before I know it, the day is done
and I have missed it.
I have botched the beauty of today
because I could not let the unjust fly free.

How can that be? I am made in the
image of the Creator and yet I feel
stuck in the mire. I plead for
my feet to get back on the rock.

So I try. At least I strive
and I pray and anticipate
That clarity comes in like a wave
and the center is in Him as it should be

and I am but a woman,
going about my day
aching over these hard lessons
but thanking God that...

I see beauty once again.

holy experience

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rainy Day Beef Stew And Yummy Dipping Rolls

Overcast, rainy weather says beef stew like nothing else.

Liv received a beautiful kid's cookbook by Paula Dean from a sweet friend of ours. Hands down, this has been our favorite kid's cookbook. It now contains about 16 different dog-eared pages....a bad habit she evidently inherited from her mother. :o) She has been slowly working her way through it. Magic rice, chocolate dipped bananas, campfire stew, and egg in toast are just a few of the recipes she has tried. She still wants to try Fried Egg Sandwiches, Homemade Pretzels, and Stone Soup. What you won't find dog-eared, are the Cheese on a Log or Ants on a Log. Do I need to mention that Liv is anti-celery? You also won't find the Sloppy Joes or the Tuna Melt dog-eared...this makes the 9-year-old Me gasp in shock. But one of her favorites from this cookbook, is the beef stew. I's awesome, and super fun for kids. This turbulent Spring weather has been bringing on the beef stew cravings.

It's not the most gourmet of recipes... (it calls for onion soup mix instead of real onion, but when your 4-year-old's favorite part of the recipe is to sprinkle the onion soup mix into the crock pot, you make changes to your normal routine. :o)...but it's perfectly kid-friendly! I like to double the recipe.

I think the girls' would say they that the rolls are the best part of beef stew. You can also serve this stew over rice as the recipe suggests, since it's nice and thick. But I have a delicious roll recipe that the girls like to help me with. Since they freeze well, I take a few out in the morning and, by lunch time, they are nice and thawed.

Paula Dean's Meat Stew with Veggies:

1/3 C. all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. lean stew beef, fat cut off
2 T. oil (We use Olive oil)
1 package dry onion soup mix
3 carrots, washed
1 large baking potato (Liv likes to use Yukon Gold potatoes)
2 stalks of celery, washed
2-1/4 C. water
1 T. cornstarch
Cooked white rice (or rolls, recipe below)

First, combine the flour, salt and pepper and place in ziplock bag. Set it aside. Cut up the steak, trimming the fat. Place cut steak into a ziplock bag with the flour mixture. Shake vigorously until well-coated. Holding a colander over the garbage can, shake the excess flour off the stew meat. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, place the flour-coated steak in the skillet in a single layer, turning until brown on all sides. Turn off the heat and use tongs to place meat in the slow cooker.

Meanwhile, Holland likes to rinse the veggies. We like to add mushrooms to our stew.

She then passes the clean veggies to Liv as she cuts them into large pieces. ( This particular time, Liv got a little carried away and cut the veggies smaller than directed in the recipe. Wait--what? Liv got carried away? Shocking, I realize. :o) The recipe says to cut each carrot into 5-6 pieces and the potato into large chunks. Since the bread-winner of our family can't have celery, we usually stick the whole stalk in the stew, cook with it, then discard at the end. If you aren't a fan of celery because of the texture, I recommend you do this, as it flavors the stew so well and it's easy to take out at the end.)

While the girls are still preparing the veggies, I have browned the meat and placed it in a single layer in the crockpot. The onion soup mix is next. Just sprinkle mix over the meat. Holland takes this step very seriously.

Then Holland takes the veggies Liv has cut and pours them over the meat and soup mix.

Add 2 Cups of water and turn to high for 4 hours.
Then reduce heat to low for another 3 hours.

About 15 minutes before serving the stew, measure 1/4 C. water. Stir in the cornstarch until there aren't any lumps. Add this to the stew and stir. Let the stew thicken for 15 minutes. (I've actually never done this step because I usually forget and don't miss the extra thickness. Ladle rice into bowls, pour stew over top. OR, make the divine roll recipe below while the crockpot is slaving over your stew!

I found this roll recipe online a couple of years back. It's so quick and easy, especially because I use our breadmaker to prepare the dough. Tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, these rolls are perfectly suited for dipping into a yummy bowl of beef stew. I did make a few slight changes, so below you will find the revised recipe. If you prefer to not use a breadmaker, this recipe works well using your mixer's dough hook.

Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

1/2 C. warm water
1/2 C. warm milk
1 egg
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1-3/4 C. whole wheat bread flour
2 C. white bread flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 stick of butter


Place water, milk, egg, 1/2 C. butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in pan of the bread maching in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough/knead. Press start. When cycle finishes, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

Divide dough into 12 portions and roll into a ball gently but tightly. (Holland is using a lettuce cutter to do this step. It's a perfect utensil for kids learning how to cut!

Place point side down on a greased cookie sheet.

Next, dot each roll with butter. Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place; let rise at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Number of servings: 10-12

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I love these Women

And I am so blessed to call each one mom!

Generous and silly, doting and nostalgic.

Instructive and fostering; digs in with smiley gusto.

Caring and thoughtful, compassionate and constant.

They are ever available, quick to hug and willing to give. These women have peppered our lives with their caring, generous, and kind ways.

Thank you dear moms for all you do to share love to us all. You are each beautiful and special in your own ways and your love will last for generations to come.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dear Great Grandma Gertrude

I just wanted you to know that I'm taking good care of your poppy seeds that happened to fall into my hands a few years back. In fact, our very first poppy opened up to the sun, Wednesday, just a couple of days before Mother's Day. While we admired this first bloom, I imagine how they must have looked in your yard in Pleasant Prairie. I think of you--a newer mother at the time--with an apron about your waist, hair pulled back, stealing a few minutes of precious time to till and cultivate the clay earth and how the dirt must have seeped into the fine lines of your hands. How you knew that the time it took to formulate a caring nesting spot, to carefully scatter and lightly cover seeds, would be rewarded in due time with beautiful blossoms that spoke of God's creation. And I know your children loved the work of your tireless hands. I know because your daughter grew to love poppies. She sweated and ached over her garden and harvested the same seeds, season after season, and passed them down to be treasured in generational gardens. And my mom knew enough of the treasured harvest to save the seeds for years and years.

The way you cared for your poppies and the offspring seed speaks volumes of how you were not afraid to put in the extra work and time it took to create beauty. The patience is one I imagine you had in your little farmhouse with your little children. I pray that I might feel the same as I raise my daughters, tireless and patient while making the effort to make something count for God's Kingdom. To show these little souls the way to love. And the tilling we do as moms, and the weeding we do in our own hearts, and the extra miles we go to train our children in the way they should go will crop up in the future generations. Isn't it sweet, Grandma, how we can give to our great grandchildren even when our own "garden" is but a memory?

I wish I could have met you, but in some ways I feel like I have, when I gaze upon the beauty cropping up in my flowerbed. Thank you Great Gertrude for your sweet poppies. Poppies born out of diligence and effort, opening new to my little girls' (your great-great grandchildren's) wonder-filled eyes.


Your Great Grandaughter

Friday, May 7, 2010


I snapped this photo back in April right before the girls sped away with Brian to HP for their annual, "Take Your Little Inventor To Work Day," a variation on the "take your son/daughter to work Day". The girls loved hanging with daddy all day. They got to make things out of various computer parts, got their picture taken with a huge dragon, and got to go to the HP cafeteria for some pizza. The girls came home filled with happiness and that good kind of tired you get when you have done something so very special.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Your Know You're a Fighter's Wife When...

Actually, this post could be titled the following ways:

A. You know you're a wrestler's girlfriend when...
B. Cutting Weight Sucks

When I met Brian 16 years ago,

(seriously, it's been that long? Aren't I still 27? Hello....anybody?),

he was a wrestler for Boise State. This immediately catapulted me into the title depicted in letter A, above. I suddenly found myself sitting in bleachers, biting my knuckles, the stench of sweaty gym clothes filling my nostrils. It's not as glamorous as it sounds, but it's close.

After we graduated, Brian walked into a martial arts gym and began training jujitsu and soon began fighting in amateur matches. Road trips abounded and I found myself at different venues in different states. Soon, his sport expanded into boxing and he had a few amateur matches through Golden Gloves gym and CBO, Christian Boxers Organization. The amateur fights soon turned to pro fights and that brings us to where we are now.

In honor of his fight coming up this Saturday at the Qwest Arena in Boise, I've decided to draw up a list to show the wifely point-of-view. :o)

So, without further adieu:


1. You have had to make a midnight run to the local grocery store to pick up 12 packs of fruit stripe gum to be ingested in an agitated manner while sitting in a theater next to someone with a steaming bag of popcorn. Note: this would not be the wife with the bag of popcorn. She would not be heard from again if she had ordered said popcorn. (See letter B, above)

2. You have snuck food into the closet to be scarfed down as soon as weight-cutting fighter is out of nose-shot.

3. You have found yourself on an exercise bike at the YMCA for 3 hours next to wrestler boyfriend who needs to cut weight. Who signed up for this anyway?

4. You have carefully selected cute fight-night attire and show up at the event feeling like a prude. (this was actually voiced by my dear friend, another fighter's wife :o)

5. Sitting nonchalantly on the couch, you suddenly find yourself in a choke hold.

6. Your sweet daughters give ferocious choke holds.

7. The same little girls mentioned above have multiple pairs of boxing gloves. All pink, of course.

8. You wash 8 pairs of workout clothes. In one day.

9. When cooking dinner for your children, you make it hours ahead of when weight-cutting fighter comes home so that the decadent smell has left the house by the time he arrives.

10. When you see a first time fighter with his wife sitting alone in the crowd you think: rookie mistake. (that one's for you, Dana :o)

11. After successful weight-cutting fighter makes weight, you watch 15 pounds come back on in a matter of 2 hours, or 3 meals later.

12. When your 6-year-old daughter asks weight-cutting-fighter-husband, "why don't we have pancakes, waffles, and crepes anymore?" (again, please see letter B, above)

Here are some images of Brian, all taken in April of this year, 2010, at different Grappler's tournaments. The first tournament, he won 1st and second. (He entered into 2 different weight classes for the extra practice). Though it's hard to tell from the pictures, the guy you see below was 125 pounds bigger than Brian. It was funny to see them on the mat together. The girls asked if he was a giant. Next to Brian, that question was a good one. Minus a boxing match when Liv was 2 months old, this was the first time the girls got to see Brian fight in an actual match in person. They were thrilled. Our great friends Adam and Eli got to be there, too, and Adam took these great pictures.

Brian was so tired here. Because he fought in two different classes, he didn't have many breaks, and he had to fight some monstrous guys. We are waiting for his turn.

This guy below (the next two pictures) is 51 years old. He is amazing--a local legend. Brian beat him with an arm bar the first match. But he got Brian the next two times. Now the two are friends and have been working out together regularly.

And here is a picture of Brian with his proud family. The girls have been wearing their medal "necklaces" daily and can't wait to tell everyone about them. I admire my husbands grit and determination, his perseverance and strength, and how much he loves the sport. But mostly, I love watching the girls clamor into his car with their gloves and boxing bags and snacks, excited to spend the evening with him at his boxing gym. This picture cracks me up a bit, because both Brian and Reese look spent. I assure you, they were! :o)

At the second tournament, Brian got placed 2nd. Liv and Holland hung that medal in Reese's room. :o)

Our awesome friends Damie, Victor, and Kedrick came to root for Brian. Brian and Damie go way back when they were both collegiate wrestlers. Damie has also fought in the cage. :o). Just this morning, Liv told me that "if I ever have to fight Damie, I'm definitely using the choke hold!"

Victor is right at home in this gym full of grapplers.

And you guys, did you ever think you could see such cuteness in a gym so full of testosterone? I tell you I did not, but here is a picture to prove it.

Reese's medal:

The girls were so proud.

Post pizza eating back at the house with our new, totally sweet friends.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Becoming a Happy Waitress

When I was a little kid, I thought being a waitress was glamorous. Ok, maybe not glamorous. That's not the word I am looking for. Maybe, fun? Yes, I thought being a waitress had to be the most fun job on the planet. I wanted to be one. And a waitress I became during my freshman year of college. I continued to be one as I went to school and got married. I joyfully quit the year I began my student-teaching. Notice I said, joyfully. Waitressing was not the fun I had thought it would be.

Now that I am a mom, waitressing is just a part of my past. Or so I thought.

During dinner dish-up, our oldest said with the same excitement she says most things, "I have a great idea, mom! You should pretend you are a waitress when you give us our food."

I laughed. I balked.

Then I shook my head in distaste, thinking of those long 8 hour days spent on my feet, juggling towering tray and 20 second refills and the cranky hunger growls of patrons. Those were the days when my shoes would curl from the kitchen grease, and the days when my eyelids grew heavy at the end of the night, and I would be absolutely buggy and would unintentionally draw out the counting of the money and the cleaning of the line and the filling of the salt shakers. Days when I would pass my husband on the road to work, needing to be okay that day with just a wave from our cars. And nights when my legs ached from being so long on my feet.

"No way," I say, and I mean it. And the game that could've been, never was, and we go on about our dinner.

I think about this the next day.

And the next.

And still a week--two weeks later--it haunts me, though I keep brushing it away.

This is a home where we have fixed rules for dinner time:

1. I am not a short-order cook

2. I do not want to be a short-order cook

3. You are not allowed to ask me to be a short order cook.

I don't think those are bad rules, but those rules were born out of my distaste for serving and I staunchly stand behind those rules, to a fault. The other rules for meal time include obtaining own water/milk and silverware.

So today, I break my own rules and I make it fun for the girls and I show them how to not be so set in ways that we can't bend and have fun every once in awhile. Since when did I become so narrow?

They get a choice and they love it and they circle with happiness and wait expectantly. They are happy and grateful for this change and to see mom having fun being the waitress.

Why would it be so beneath me to waitress to my young girls? Why would I let a precious moment slip so quickly away? A moment I could model being God's servant, however imperfect. A chance to show the girls how to graciously put others before ourselves, cheerfully because it's fun. Never before had I thought of serving as fun. I realize now that I need to change this old way of thinking, and instead see the fruit that could bear because of these acts of humility. As a mother, I have the best opportunity of anyone, to show the girls that serving can be--and is if we make it--fun.

Thank you God for the chance to be a waitress again. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to have fun as I work. Thank you for commanding me, in your Word, to love.

Matthew 25:40

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Thinking of how to better serve Him via The Holy Experience Community:

holy experience

Saturday, May 1, 2010

red umbrella

Spring rains pour out newness and life.

It also pours out the need to cover oneself with a certain red umbrella.

Then go sloshing in the water puddles, drenching the feet.


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