Saturday, October 31

I Just Made the Yummiest Soup!

I've made a similar soup before and thought I'd just change it up a little. I had no idea it would be this good. I'm glad I made a double recipe!! Leftovers, mmmmmmmm ...

Potato-Bacon Chowder
serves 4-6

4 strips thick-sliced bacon
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T flour
3 c chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, diced
¾ c corn
¼ t thyme
1/8 t oregano
¼ t salt
1/8 t pepper
  1. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble, reserving 1 T grease.
  2. Place onion, celery, and carrot in a saucepan with the reserved bacon grease. Heat at medium-high, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook for one minute more.
  4. Stir in flour until fully absorbed, then add chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add potatoes, corn, crumbled bacon, and spices. Reduce heat to medium.
  6. Simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
  7. Eat with a great big smile on your face!

Friday, October 30

Is There an Emergency Stop on This Elevator?

Let's start with overnight, since, as a heavily pregnant woman, I haven't slept through the night in months. Last night I had a whole series of disturbing dreams. In each one of them, I had gone into labor, but I wasn't ready. I had to pack a suitcase to return from vacation or we were in the middle of a move from one house to another or labor itself was stopping and starting while I hung out at the "birth house" hoping for my turn while 20-some other women with more efficient labor patterns bumped me down the waiting list.

Once I got out of bed for the day, Adam told me his paycheck had come through. Hooray, we can afford groceries! In fact, the amount of the check was higher than I'd expected, and we can actually afford to pay all but one of the bills that's due before his next check.

Because it's Friday, and I really didn't want to contemplate going grocery shopping on Saturday, Rosi and I took Adam to work. The way there isn't too bad, it's picking him up at the end of his shift (two hours past Rosi's bedtime) that's the bear. He tried to find a ride home with one of his coworkers, but no one was able to do it tonight.

After dropping Adam off at the office, we sputtered our way to the nearest gas station to fill up our desperately thirsty car. Thankfully, no pushing was required to make it all the way there. After filling up on gas and oil, my 13-year-old car was happy as a clam once again.

We headed back home so I could work out a menu plan for the next few weeks and actually purchase appropriate foods to feed us within our budget. It took me about two hours longer than I'd expected, but finally, I got a list made out. My estimated cost came to within just a few dollars of our budget.

Before we left for the shopping expedition, I made a sandwich for myself. I offered one to Rosi as well (several times, in fact, because I knew she ought to be hungry), but she refused. Were I a brilliant mother, I would have brought an extra with me, so that when she started melting down in the pasta aisle, I could have pulled it out of my magic bag Mary Poppins style.

Unfortunately, I'm not practically perfect in every way, so instead of feeding her in the middle of the aisle, I pulled her out of the cart, left the food melting in the aisle, and we came back home--half-shopped with nothing to show for it.

I've spent the last 25 minutes trying to convince her that, yes, she does need to take a nap before we go get Daddy because she will be up for at least 2½ hours past her bedtime. At this precise moment, she's sitting on her bedroom floor, humming to herself to stay awake.


Calgon, take me away! And, could you possibly send somebody else in my place for a couple of days while you're at it?

Thursday, October 29


I had an appointment with my midwives yesterday. I've officially made it far enough that they are comfortable catching this babe at home and wouldn't send me off the the hospital were I to go into labor today.


Wait ... do you know what that means? Sometime in the next month and a half I'm supposed to be having a baby.


How did this happen? Wasn't I just four months pregnant a couple of weeks ago?

How come my house isn't all cleaned up? Why aren't all the baby clothes sorted and washed? Whose job was that?

Oh, right. Mine.


Guess I better get off my duff and get back to it then. Time's a wasting.

Anybody know where I put that nesting instinct?

Wednesday, October 28

Talking to Myself

I really enjoy taking time once in a while to read through old journals I have kept. Sure, they contain a lot of nonsense, but scattered throughout are wonderful gems that speak to me again months and years later. I like to think that indicates brief glimpses of wisdom. Maybe it just means I don't learn my lessons well, and God needs to keep showing me the same things again and again. This evening, I was reading through a journal I kept in 2003. The following passage really stood out to me.

When I try and I try and I try to do what it is I just can't do, I despair that I'm not living up to my potential. Ooh--were scarier words ever invented? Just like an egg is a potential chicken, I feel like I'm a potential good person. If I could just try a little harder, do a little better; if I would just listen to what God is trying to teach me.

I give up on myself ... I was going to say, "I give up on myself way more than God does" or "I give up on myself long before God will," but neither of those is true, because God will never give up on me!

Even when I'm sitting at the bottom of the mud hole, God doesn't throw down a rope, tie it to a stick, and walk off, waiting for me to climb out. He climbs right down next to me, because He knows I will need a shoulder to cry on long before I will be prepared to get up and let Him lead me back to the verdant pasture.

Friday, October 23

Somebody Won!

I finally chose a winner in my secret giveaway ... but I don't know how to contact her. When I asked for one comment number, gave me #4.

Susan2009 of Fruitful Words, please send me an e-mail. You won! I visited your site, only I couldn't find a way to actually contact you. I'd love to find some pretty cupcake wrappers for you ... but I don't know where to send them. :)

To everyone who didn't win, thanks for playing, and I'm sure I'll be hosting another giveaway in the near future, so keep reading.

Tuesday, October 20

On Sisterhood

The power of one understanding woman who opens her ears and her heart to another woman should never be underestimated.
~Robin Jones Gunn, Peculiar Treasures

Sunday, October 18

Memo to My Favorite Football Team

RE: Your long-distance fans

My friends,

I have been a fan of the Chicago Bears since I was 10 years old and watched you beat the pants off the Patriots. When I moved to New York a couple of years later, I showed my team spirit by designing a piƱata in the shape of William "Refrigerator" Perry for Spanish class. You played in one Monday night game late that season. In my honor, you lost to the 49ers 41-0. Thanks.

Oh, and the boy whose locker was next to mine was a Niners fan. Yes, he lorded the outcome of that game over me the rest of the school year.

A dozen years later, I had the opportunity to move back to Chicago. I was overjoyed to be able to watch every game of the season! And I did watch nearly all the games for the next decade, including Superbowl XLI, which at least started out well.

One year ago, I had to drive a rental truck full of my things away from Illinois for the second time. I quickly discovered that, though the move was to South Dakota, I had landed smack dab in Viking country. And, no, I can't believe they had the audacity to sign Brett Favre either.

So far this season, I've been able to watch two complete Bears games as carried on national TV. Those would be your two losses so far.

I understand you are a hometown team and I appreciate that you want to save your best play for your local fans. But, please, keep in mind that some of your fans, for various reason, can't be local. We still want to watch you win!

Thank you for taking the time to consider those of us who support your franchise, even when we no longer live in your fine city. Oh, and have a nice flight home from Atlanta. Maybe you could practice holding on to the football while you're on the plane.

Friday, October 16

Happy Birthday!

Sound the trumpets: Today is my third blogging anniversary. It's also the last day to enter my secret giveaway, and given the response so far, you still have an excellent chance of winning.

Meanwhile, it's Friday, which means Adam has gone back to work for the week and we need to get back to homeschooling. I've been somewhat lax in that area since my in-laws were here, so I'm feeling itchy to get back into our routine.

I was realizing, just before the hiatus, that my "lesson plans" were getting a bit too elaborate for preschool. I'm now trying to limit our focus to one concept throughout the week in each subject. I'm also trying to get a little more unschoolish about the whole thing and let Rosi lead herself in the direction of which subjects to study. I've been doing that somewhat, like for science we've been learning about animals she likes, but I've been much more strict in the way I've been trying to help her learn reading and math concepts. Unfortunately, in my stricture, we seem to have lost some of the game-playing aspects of learning--you know, what makes it fun in the first place.

Thursday, October 15


Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Please take a moment to remember those whose lives have been touched by little ones they knew for too brief a time. Thank you.

Friday, October 9

Holy Cow, It's Snowing!

Yup. That about says it all.

Mark your calendars, folks. Sioux Falls had its first snowfall of 2009 on October 9th.

Frankly, it wouldn't bother me so much except that it hasn't even snowed in Anchorage yet!

Remind me again why we moved here. Anybody?

Wednesday, October 7

Thanksgiving Dinner

I read somewhere recently that no one who says he wants to write really wants "to write." Instead he wants "to have written." I'm not sure I entirely agree with that--I do actually like to write. By the same token, I can see how it does get frustrating to write. Sometimes, things just don't flow.

Lately, as I've mentioned, I've been preparing to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. So far I have a plot and a bunch of characters whom I am trying to get to know better. It's a little odd to me, never really having gotten this deep into noveling, that the characters are creatures of my imagination, yet they're starting to have ideas of their own.

In order to get a better feel for writing the main characters, I decided to interview them. I wrote out some questions and I'm having my characters answer in their own voices. It's a really interesting experience. I started with the main male character, since I figured he'd be the hardest for me to get a handle on (never having been male myself). I definitely have seen a difference in the way I would explain his answers than the way he needs to do so. I keep running things past Adam to make sure my character has a strong enough masculine identity. I've started writing a few of his answers and had to stop, go back, and begin again because I was using my own voice and making him sound too prissy.

As for the dinner aspect (from the post title), I made a discovery the other day. Writing a novel is like making Thanksgiving dinner. To make a real, traditional meal from scratch, you need to start at least a couple days before the holiday, spend hours chopping and stirring and baking, getting everything just right. Then the meal is served and your houseful of guests eats everything up in 45 minutes. To make a good book, so you need to choose just the right ingredients, spend days (or weeks or months) letting everything simmer together, then when it's finally done, your readers gobble it up in a few hours.

Friday, October 2

Sorry, Folks

After having to delete my last dozen comments--all from the same spammer--I have decided to turn on comment moderation. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Carry on.

Thursday, October 1

October is Clergy Appreciation Month

Most of the time when I think about the pastors in my life, it's with consideration to how they can best serve me. Maybe you're the same way. The only problem is, if I'm thinking that way, and you're thinking that way ... well, who ministers to the ministers?

Since October has been officially designated as the month to appreciate you pastors, I figured I'd share some ways for you (and me) to do just that.

Here is an article from the Christianity Today archives entitled Eight Ways to Encourage Your Pastor. It's a good place to start. For #2 ("Pray regularly"), you might find the prayer list below useful. You'll notice it's conveniently divided into 31 topics, one for each day of October.

Let's not forget to continue blessing our pastors once October is over. We need to encourage and support these leaders every month!

31 Prayers for Christian Leaders
Pastor, I am praying that you would
  1. recognize your accountability to God for each decision and act. (Colossians 1:16)
  2. have wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. (James 1:5)
  3. protect your loving Christian witness. (Romans 10:14)
  4. be strengthened and encouraged in your faith. (Ephesians 1:17-19)
  5. know your own limitations and pray, seeking the will of God (Proverbs 3:5-7, Luke 11:9-13)
  6. be open to the Spirit's conviction of sin, transgression, and iniquity (Psalm 51:17)
  7. heed your conscience, confess your sins, and repent (Proverbs 28:13, James 4:7-8)
  8. read the Bible and attend prayer meetings and Bible studies (Psalm 119:11, Colossians 3:2)
  9. value and regard the teachings of Christ (Psalm 19:7-9, John 8:31-32)
  10. honor your own parents and those who have provided a spiritual legacy (Ephesians 6:2-3, I Corinthians 4:15)
  11. respect authority, and practice accountability (Romans 13:1-5)
  12. pay attention to godly counsel and advice (Proverbs 24:6)
  13. be honest and faithful to your spouse and children (Malachi 2:15-16)
  14. participate in worship, and help to those in need (Hebrews 10:22-25)
  15. desire purity and avoid debauchery, perversion, and drunkenness (I Corinthians 6:9-20, Titus 2:11-13)
  16. practice timeliness, reliability, and dependability (Matthew 21:28-31)
  17. act honorably in financial, tax, and ethical matters (I Corinthians 6:10, I Timothy 6:8-10)
  18. recognize your own needs for pastoral care and counsel (Hebrews 13:7)
  19. develop and nurture godly friendships (Proverbs 17:17)
  20. have generosity and a compassionate heart for the poor and needy (Psalm 112:9, Luke 10:33-37)
  21. keep or seek to restore unity with other Christians (John 17:20-22)
  22. use your time wisely and know true godly priorities (Ephesians 5:15-17)
  23. show honesty, integrity, and loyalty (Psalm 26, Proverbs 11:3)
  24. resist manipulation, pressure, and the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25, II Timothy 1:7)
  25. be protected from occultism and false religions (Isaiah 2:6)
  26. adhere to a godly worldview and biblical principles (Ephesians 3:9-10)
  27. encouraging families toward divine order and morality (Ephesians 5:22-6:4)
  28. work to discount false teachings and foolish divisions in the Church (I Timothy 1:3-4)
  29. be willing to serve and cooperate with humility and meekness (John 13:14, Titus 3:1-2)
  30. accept valuable instruction and correction (Job 22:22, Proverbs 10:17)
  31. be prepared to give account to Almighty God (James 3:1)