Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I currently don't feel so hot.  It's been touch and go for about a week.  It began with my husband.  He traveled to Indiana a short while back, and returned with this gosh awful congestion/cough/sickness type thing.  He was exposed to someone who apparently coughed/hacked/exposed his illness all over the place, all the while claiming not to be contagious.  I think this person was wrong and now his Indiana germs have spread to Kentucky.  

I had a sore throat last week, then proceeded to feel better.  Now I am congested and cannot breath well.  It kind of comes and goes, but tonight it has "come" and I feel yucky.  My husband [who is now feeling better] will soon arrive home, look at me, hear my hoarse voice and my heavy breathing, and say, "Have you taken anything?  Why don't you take some NyQuil?"  

Well, I'll tell you why. . .   I detest medicine.  It makes me loopy, it's hard to get down [I'm a gagger], and unless one needs an antibiotic [which I don't believe I've consumed since becoming an adult], medicine [IMHO] merely masks the symptoms and doesn't "cure" anything.  

So I'm drinking a cup of green tea with a shot of honey and a splash of almond milk.  If I had some brandy I'd throw it in.  But, I've never had any brandy in the house and this doesn't seem like the time to begin consuming hard liquor.  I'm a firm believer that green tea in the colder months keeps a person healthy.  It's gotten me through some rough Kentucky winters [yes, I realize Kentucky doesn't comparatively have rough winters, but I grew up in the desert, therefore to me, these winters are rough].  I will up my consumption of orange juice and Vitamin Water and I will win this fight.  

Meantime, I will enjoy having a sultry voice and look forward to next week's Thanksgiving break.  And I will be thankful that my current biggest complaint is much/much/much smaller than what many people face.  And, due to the fact that I was awake from 3 am to 5 am this morning, I might [no promises] take some NyQuil before bed and hope the dreams don't get too outrageous.  

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
to which indeed you were called in one body.
And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It's that time of year.  The time of year when my husband says, "Are we going to take a family photo this year?"  I think he really enjoys family photos.  Actually, I think he simply realizes the many pluses the family portrait offers:
  • makes for an easy Christmas gift
  • grandparents love them
  • lots of bang for your buck - one photo shoot covers gifts for multiple people and an hour or so of your time equals many.many.many little wallet size photos
  • makes for nice framed displays on ones work desk [ie showing off your kids]
  • they provide something to laugh at, years from now [I'm picturing the circa 1977 photo including my dad and mom in polyester and my sister and I in matching dresses]
How about this pose?  [*note:  this is NOT my family]

Perhaps these outfits?

You must be photographed on a cruise, or they won't let you eat in the dining room.

What to wear?  That's really the biggest concern, once schedules are worked out and the appointment is made.  Working with a musical high schooler's schedule is not easy.  Especially when he is auditioning, performing, and practicing for [it seems] every musical event except the Super Bowl half time show.  Mind you, I'm not complaining.  I'm excited about all the opportunities he has.  It's just not easy to find time for extra events.  Then there's work schedules, finding a time when the middle schooler is available and in a good mood, and trying to time the appointment two weeks after haircuts. [Isn't that when one's hair is supposed to look the best?]  Oh, and I checked the Packer's schedule to make sure we weren't conflicting with a game. 

Back to what to wear.  My husband would like the four of us to don our Green Bay Packer clothing.  My daughter doesn't agree.  I've noticed many families like the white shirt/jeans look.  We don't all have white shirts.  Unless we allow the men to wear undershirts, which is of course, out of the question.  My son has voiced his desire for a cardigan.  It's on his Christmas list, but alas, he doesn't own one today.  I'm considering having us wear earth tones.  We generally all look good in earth tones.  My daughter has also suggested her dad wear a suit - his only suit, and the suit he purchased sometime in the early 90s.  He refuses to wear the suit.  Unless he can wear a Packer's jersey as the shirt underneath the coat.  [Not going to happen]

We will have to come to a firm decision on our attire by at least 10 a.m. on Sunday.  The appointment is at noon.  Which is two hours before the middle schooler has to report for her Operation Christmas Child project, and 5.5 hours before the high schooler meets a study group.  [I explained above about scheduling issues.]

Inevitably, when we go to the photo studio, a family consisting of an infant, toddler and perhaps a couple older children is scheduled ahead of us.  While I've been a parent of an infant and toddler, I find I have much less patience than I did back then.  I want to yell at the parents, "Just get the basic package!  You don't need 475 photos, even if they're different shots and outfits.   Pay your fifteen dollars and get out.  Please!"  Suffering through listening to a mother and father debate whether picture A or B features a better smile on their oh.so.sweet two year old can be trying. 

I've been a parent for nearly 17 years.  Aside from school pictures, nearly every sports team offers an individual and team shot of your child.  If your child is in band, they'll get photographed in uniform. There are also homeroom class pictures.  And of course, the random shots taken by the novice, but oh.so.faithful to The Pioneer Woman's blog photo section moms who love to pass out their prints while proudly displaying a toothy grin.  I'm never sure if these ladies want a small stipend to cover printing costs, or they're simply showing off their expertise.  [Yes, it's kind of them to offer their services.]  Since nearly every child age 11 and up now has a cell phone complete with camera, I'm speculating every kid in this country is photographed on the average of once per hour. 

Therefore, there is no need to purchase anything aside from the $15 package offered at the studio.  Your children and mine will be photographed again, most likely before the sun sets.

Since our high schooler will be a senior next year, we'll probably invest in the senior portrait scenario.  So, this could be the last year of the family portrait.  At least the last year that when I call to schedule the appointment and am asked how many adults and how many children, I answer, "Two adults, two kids." The next time around it might be, "Ah, I suppose it will be four adults."  That will probably be the time I have to come up with a different Christmas gift for the grandparents.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

[racing time]

Thank you to whoever is in charge of the Time Change!  I don't know who you are, but it's such a great thing in the fall.  Spring, not so much, as we "lose" an hour.  Would "falling back" twice a year actually throw the earth off its axis, or totally mess up the equilibrium of all things?  Yes, I know it has to do with daylight.  Perhaps you've heard, President Medvedev has announced that Russia will not come off daylight saving time beginning this autumn.  He believes switching clocks twice a year is harmful for people’s health and triggers stress.

So much is said about time.  
           "Time is money."
                         "Time heals all wounds."
                                        "There's a time for every season."
                                                       "I hope you had the time of your life." 
                                                                      "Too much time on your hands."

We're at the point in our family where time races by. A decision about which high school our daughter should attend. Then helping our son choose where to go to college and how to obtain scholarships. One day a long time ago, elementary school seemed like it would take an eternity. 

Join the PTA? 
 Would your child enjoy playing soccer? 
 Let's sit down together and practice piano. 

Now my son is beyond my piano capabilities and has mastered two other instruments, plus is taking AP Music Theory and enjoying it. He will soon be taking music classes taught by people with doctorates (actually, I think he already is). He was once the privileged 4th grader who was allowed to play the pipe organ at the Singletary Center on a class field trip. Now he's the high school drum line section leader and can lead worship. My daughter, who it seems just last week was a chubby little person, now is thin and lovely and shared a pizza a few weeks back with a fellow vegetarian, Hindu classmate, plus said grace over the pizza in front of her peers (yes, in public school). When did they become these people?

We can hold theological discussions with them.  Yet we still have to drive them wherever they need to go.  One of them listens to Adele songs over and over and over.  The other prefers vinyl to cd.  

And I realize, more and more each day, that time remaining can now be measured.  There are 119 days left in this school year.  Then there's one school year left for our boy young man before college.   After 119 days, our sweet daughter will be looking at four years of high school, then off to higher education.

There are 3 middle school band concerts left, with a few jazz concerts thrown in.  There are some major tests to take, some pomp and circumstance, still more lunches to pack than I care to count, a few places to visit - just the four of us, before BOOM!  it's time to say good-bye number one.  Which won't be a forever good-bye.  But it won't be a "see you when you get off the school bus" kind of good-bye.

So attending a UK football game means remembering to create a memory.  Watching home movies circa 2001 make me realize that 10 years fly [really.really.quickly], and our little people aren't so little anymore.  

Our son is on a high school band trip this weekend.  So, my husband is blessed with two females in the house.  We watched "The Last Song" Friday night.  It's a taste of what it'll be like when Jamie heads to college.  Which will be soon.  And it's hard to grasp.

A few people I know have recently had babies.  I look at their photos and think, "You don't realize it, but next thing you know, your sweet baby will be taking the PSAT."  

The best piece of advice I ever received regarding parenting is this:

"You only get 18 summers." 

It's not hard to count how many I have left.  A smattering of holidays, a few birthdays, lessons in doing your own laundry.  And the race will be over.  The 18 summers will be in the rear view mirror.  

I look forward to seeing who these two, once little people, turn out to be.   And meantime, I getting teary eyed, thinking of it.  And I realize, I must.must.must rejoice and be thankful for each day.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

{friendly gratitude}

Our family is doing "30 Days of Thanks".  It's interesting that today's activity is invite someone you're thankful for over to your home.  The reason it's interesting?  Chip has invited his friend Glenn to today's University of Kentucky football game [go.big.blue] and I've baked Glenn a pumpkin cheesecake for his birthday.  These arrangements were made in honor of Glenn's birthday, without consulting with the 30 Day guide.  It just worked out this way.  

I am thankful for Glenn.  He's been a faithful friend to Chip for a long, long time.  And, he's my friend too.  

I was reminded this week that I have a couple ladies in my life that are call in the middle of the night friends.  What I mean by that is, though I don't see them super regularly, though our schedules don't allow weekly lunch dates, though we don't have frequent casual phone convos. . . . . I know I could call either one of them at 2 a.m. and they'd pray with/for me.  They're wise, they're experienced ministry wives and moms, and they'll give it to me straight.   

So, here's to friends.  Whether they're the ones on Facebook I've known since I was in kindergarten or the people I work with or my best friend Chip who is also my husband. . . 

And here's to Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
¼ cup sugar

3 pkg. (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¾ cups pumpkin
2/3 cup (5 fl oz can) evaporated milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

For crust:
Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar in medium bowl.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9 inch springform pan.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown).  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

For cheesecake:
Beat cream cheese, sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk.  Add cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; beat well.  Pour into crust.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly.

Cool in pan on wire rack.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Remove side of springform pan.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And so it begins. . .

               . . . the holiday season.  Sixty two days: 

November's 30 + December's 31 + January First = 62 days 

I have decided to not be a BAH HUMBUG this year.  While I like Thanksgiving an.awfully.lot, I've grown to not care so much for Christmas.  Well, it's not really that I don't like Christmas, it's that I don't like all the fuss.hoopla.rigmarole that comes along with the celebration of the birth of Christ.  It can easily become what my son would refer to as a "science fair":
  • angry shoppers
  • annoyed drivers
  • obligations to things that aren't important
  • frigid temperatures
  • too much stuff to do!!!
But, I've decided to put my feelings of fear.frustration.anxiety on hold and do my best to enjoy.  There are so many holiday things I like:

looking at lights
making holiday crafts
listening to holiday music
attending holiday music concerts
designing our family Christmas cards
watching holiday movies and tv programs
 j o y

In order to prepare for a Joyful Advent Season, I'm focusing on Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite holidays.  I'm going through the 30 Days of Thanksgiving with my family. I'm dwelling on this verse:
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. ~ Colossians 3:15
I could use some peace.  And could it be any clearer?  "Be thankful."

So here we go.  There are 60 days left.  Here's to hoping.to.make.the.best.of.them. . . . .