Tuesday, February 26

Hot Milk Cake

I had never made milk cake before this morning ... and how unknowingly incomplete my life has been! How dare y'all not tell me about the joy of milk cake?! I was reading Paula's blog this morning, and she had just posted this recipe. I thought it sounded good, and seeing how I hadn't eaten breakfast, I decided to make it. Mmmm ... I've already had four two slices a slice of it, and I'm having to hold myself back from eating the rest of it. I decided to send the rest with John to his leadership class this evening with some of the men from the church, so it won't be gone by the time he gets home I won't eat another few pieces.

Of course, I've modified it, because I seem to have a genetic inability to make a recipe as I read it. So make this tonight, and enjoy a big ole' chunk for breakfast!

Hot Milk Cake
from Paula, modified by Brea

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
2 1/4 t baking powder
1 T cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
10 T butter

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs at high speed until thick, about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Combine flour, spices, and baking powder, add to batter with vanilla and beat at low speed until smooth. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter just until the butter melts, stirring occasionally. Add to batter, beating until combined. Pour into a greased 13 X 9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until cake tests done.

Paula says to use all real ingredients, and I did ... except I used 1% milk, because that's all I had. It still turned out great. I also made a basic, thin glaze. To do this, take powdered sugar (2 cups maybe?) and dump it in a bowl. For this, I added a dash of cinnamon and a teeny splash of vanilla, then thinned it with half and half. Once it got fairly thin (kind of gooey, but not runny), I started adding milk to get it to a very pour-able consistency. You could also just add some whipped cream and/or fresh fruit at serving, and it would be awesome!!

So go make this! And enjoy it!!

Saturday, February 23

Friday Confessions

NOTE: I accidentally hit the 'save now' button instead of the 'publish' button yesterday. So sorry about that, but here's a Friday Confession a day late. Please don't hate me and stop being my friend think less of me when you read it!!

Ok, this one will be short and sweet, because I'm getting ready to take the kids to my mom's house, in much anticipation for my anniversary weekend.

On my right thumb, I have a small, crescent-shaped scar. My younger brother, Kevin, bit me when I was about 6 or 7. He would have been 2 or 3. He went through this bad bitting stage, and was always getting into trouble.

I was not always the sweet, calm, loving, generous person you have all grown to love to know. I was once a mean, selfish, greedy, hateful, incredibly bossy and demanding firstborn. I was not a good older sister. Things did not go well for me, either, when my brother finally figured out that he was bigger and stronger than I was. He turned mean. I deserved it. For the life of me, I don't know why.

Ok, ok. Here's one of the many, many reasons why I deserved everything I got.

Back to my scar. We were standing outside one day, beside the bbq grill. I still remember wearing a red shirt. I started crying, and my mom came running outside to see what had happened. My thumb was bleeding like crazy and I was in so much pain it was almost unbearable a very tiny bit. My mom asked me what happened, and I told her. Kevin bit me. She was so frustrated with him that she didn't even spank him, she just sent him to his room or something like that. I got a hug, and a cookie, and an hour later, life was back to normal, except that I had a band-aid with a cool design on it, and I got to show my dad my horrible wound scratch when he got home from work that evening. Kevin was scolded again, and reminded that WE DON'T BITE PEOPLE.

Here's the thing.

I've never told anyone this, and I'm so embarrassed.

Please don't tell my mom.

I told Kevin to bite me.

I know! I know!! I'm going to hell for all the awful things I did to that boy when he was younger. In my defense, he was really annoying!!

Ok, ok. I'll stop making excuses. Mom, I'm really sorry I lied by omission. Dad, I'm sorry I lied by omission. Kevin, I'm really sorry I made you bite my finger, and then got you into trouble. And then got a cookie for my bad deed. I do love you, and think you're a great little younger brother. Even if you have been taller than me since you were in 5th grade.

But seriously, you could be really annoying!!

I'm just saying.

Thursday, February 21

My husband

I love him. Quite a lot, actually. He's a wonderful man. The best father to our babies. The most amazing husband a woman could ever ask for. He's perfect for me, and I'm perfect for him. God blessed both us immensely.

You might not know this, but John is a very, very old man. (I make sure to tell him this whenever he gets too high and mighty about being smarter than me (which he totally is). Gotta make sure I keep him humble, ya know?) I just turned 25 in November, and John is 38. I know!! He's old, people!! But I like that old man. And he knows it. And uses it to his advantage, getting me to iron his clothes and bear his children and plant a garden with 37 tomato plants, all for him.

We still argue over whether our first date was actually a date. Of course it was. He doesn't agree. He's wrong. He was my manager (Sshh!! Don't tell! It's a secret!), and I had the biggest, most insane school-girl crush on him. I thought he was soooo dreamy! It was almost my birthday, and I had been teasingly asking him where he was taking me to dinner, because it was a very important birthday. He would laugh and say, 'Not that I wouldn't love to, but your dad would shoot me.'

Note: just like a month before, my dad had stormed into my place of work, and completely told off the manager on duty (ahem, John!) because I had skipped school and gone on a trainer outing in Conroe. Oops. So John was rawther afraid of my Pops.

Then my dad met a woman online, and decided to marry her. He went to visit her over the Thanksgiving holiday, which coincided with my birthday. Did I mention that his new lady lived in Russia? No? Well, his new lady lived in Russia. He was gone for at least a week. So that ruled out the 'your dad would kill me' angle. Then I did something I had never, ever, ever done before.

On my last shift before my birthday (I was off for three or four days), I wrote John a note. He wasn't working, so I stapled it all the way around the edges (restaurants are notorious for having snoops!) and left it in his box. It went something like this: John- So glad you finally decided to meet me for dinner. Meet me at Two Rows, down in the Rice Village, off University Ave. I'll be in the bar area at 8. Don't stand me up!

Just for the record, he hadn't decided to meet me for dinner. I was laying it all on the table, and I have never been so nervous as when that night came. Now, Two Rows was only 10 minutes or so from his place, but I had to drive almost an hour to get down to the Rice Village. I was freaking out!! I parked my car, double-checked my lipstick (as any good girl from the South would do!), got out of the car, and walked upstairs to the restaurant. I looked around the outside seating area, because he was always talking about how much he loved being outside, but of course he wasn't there. I nervously walked into the bar area, looked around, and didn't see him. My hear sank. But wait!! There he was, sitting at the bar, having a beer, looking amazing. I hadn't ever seen him outside of work, dressed as nice as he was.

Swoon!!! Be still, my heart!! I couldn't believe it!! We had the most wonderful supper (I still remember what I ordered), and talked for like 3 hours. It was crazy how much we had (and still have) in common. He told me happy birthday, paid for my supper, and walked me to my car. He gave me a kiss on the cheek, told me happy birthday again, and closed my door for me.

Less than three months later, I followed him up to Austin when he was transfered. He moved, I came to visit for a few days, went home, went back for another visit, and haven't left yet. :)

We were talking about this wonderful night a few years later, and here's the shocking news I discovered: he doesn't think that was our first date!!!! And, he almost didn't even show up!!!! He told me that he wasn't ever planning on coming, but he was sitting on his couch at 7:45, watching the clock, knowing that I would be really ticked off if he didn't show up. So he thought, 'Well, I don't have anything better to do,' go up and got dressed, and still got there before I did. It's not fair, I tell you.

Needless to say, I'm glad he 'had nothing better to do,' and decided to meet me. You tell me, was it a date? It was my birthday (well, the night before my birthday), I got to pick the restaurant, he paid, and opened my car door for me. I call it a date.

Our anniversary is Saturday. It's been over 8 years since we started dating, and this will be our 6th anniversary. I can't believe it! In some ways, it doesn't seem near that long. Time has flown! But in some ways, I can't believe it's only been 6 years. They've been so wonderful, that I'm kind of wondering what my life was like before I met him. I mean, is seems like we've just know each other our whole lives.

But it really was a date. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, February 19

I'm sad of it

That's what Evie used to say when she got upset, and my whole family uses the term now. Anyway, John had to go into work early today, at 1:30 instead of 4, and I'm sad of it. I want him to be home. I'm very selfish when it comes to my wonderful man. I want him here, with me, at all times.

Except when I don't. But that's usually just because he's been wonderful and has been home for like 4 days straight, and has done all kinds of housework, did stuff with the kids, maybe cooked a meal or two, and generally gave me some much needed time off. Then I feel guilty, and have to kick him out of the house so I can get something done and not feel like such a bum. :)

I tell you, it's a hard, hard life that I lead.

I got up on time this morning (about 5:45), ironed a bunch of John's work clothes while listening to one of Dr Clough's lectures, then made huevos rancheros for the grownups, scrambled eggs for the kids, and bacon, refried beans, yogurt and fruit for all of us. (Oh, goodness, I love huevos rancheros!) I'm glad we have chickens, and get free eggs, because we really go through them! To make breakfast this morning, I used 14 eggs! Oooooh, but it was so good.

Did school with the older kids, and practiced church behavior with all three. The kids are doing great on their scripture memory work (we're still working on the Beatitudes), then the four of us went outside and cleaned the porch and front yard so John could get some work done.

Rode my bike, which I haven't done in forever, and thought I was going to DIE. Seriously. It was sad and pathetic, and I'm sure the dogs whose house I passed weren't actually barking, they were laughing. Laughing!!

Made a delicious XanGo smoothie for a late lunch, and I've done some more laundry since then. The house was mildly controlled chaos when John left, so I'm hoping to get a lot done this afternoon and evening and surprise him with a lovely, peaceful, clean, yummy-smelling house when he gets home. I love doing that!!!!

Sunday, February 17

And then I prayed to pass out.

Not from embarrassment. I was just so tired at Heather's house, that I kept thinking, 'well, maybe if I just fall over, someone else will chase the baby around, and I'll get to take a nap!'

I should probably start at the beginning.

John didn't get to bed till about 3:30 last night, so the kids and I went to Sunday School without him. It was nice. The big kids go to their class, and I usually help Pace in the nursery. Which I did this morning. Then I let the big kids with Kristie, tossed gently strapped David into his seat, and drove home to pick John up for church. It's been one of the few times I can think of when having one car has been a true inconvenience, not just a minor annoyance. Anyway, church was ... uh .... interesting. David is still cutting molars, so he's been very cranky the last few weeks, and Evie is still Evie, so she's not very well-behaved sometimes. Oh, and the part where I need to spend more time training her. There's that, too.

Then we left church, stopped by HEB, and headed out to Heather's house. Heather is John's absolutely wonderful half sister, and she lives in a little town just west of Austin. Well, past 'just west' of Austin. We stopped by SAM'S Club on the way, and got out to her place about 2:30. John's dad was there, and his aunt and uncle, and two cousins, and some various kids. It was nice. We had fried catfish, which I don't normally eat, but really enjoyed this afternoon.

We had decided before hand that we were going to try and be out of there by 6, which starting to say goodbye to everyone around 5:30. This happened, we were all ready to go ... and then John's dad said, 'Oh, could I ask you a question about my computer?' John's dad, Jim, is known for being a little ... well ... he's not great with computers. Or any kind of technology, really. So John had to show him how to hook up his camera, download the pictures, shrink them so they could be emailed, email them ... the list goes on for quite a while. I think it was after 7 before we actually left, but that's ok. Life happens. I had a great time chatting with Heather and her husband, Mark. I adore Heather and Mark!! I wish they lived a little closer to us, because we don't get to see them as often as I'd like, but I am glad to see them when we do.

So this is the first time I've stopped today. I'm tuckered out. I'm going to put my chickens away, finish the rest of the Clough lecture I was listening to, and head to bed. John is off all day tomorrow, too. Yay!!!

Saturday, February 16


I don't do cold. I enjoy Texas summers (well, 90% of the time, at least). When John brings up going on a snowboarding trip, I fall to the floor, and beg, cry and scream that I don't wanna calmly explain that I would prefer to never do that do something else. Please, don't lecture me about the engineering marvels of snow clothes, and how they keep you so warm that you actually sweat, or how dry snow in places where you would ski or snowboard is so much different than a wet kind of cold.

I don't care about any of that.

In order for there to be like a gazillion inches of snow on the ground, on which one would ski, it seems like it would have to be cold. And even if I was in all the expensive, insulated, magic snow clothes, it stands to reason that at some point, some of my skin would be exposed to cold air.

I would not like that. Not in a house, not with a mouse. Not with a fox, not in a box. I would not like it here or there, I would not like it anywhere. I don't do cold.

Anyway. So I was talking to my mom yesterday, whining about discussing the weather, among other things. Originally, a cold front was supposed to come through yesterday morning, and make it really, really cold and rainy. I was lamenting that it was 3 in the afternoon, it was 73, with about 200% humidity. I wanted my cold front, man!!

Oh, how quickly I forget.

I'm so sorry!! I didn't mean to complain!! My body temperature has completely thrown itself off, and I absolutely cannot warm up!! Help me!!!!! My kids are about to drive me insane, because I'm a total moron and glutton for pain, apparently, and decided to cut the TV for a month. That's right, it's 40 outside (people in Iowa and Minnesota need to stop laughing, because 40 is very cold for us Texans. I'm from Houston, people!!), and raining, and all my kids really want to do is watch a movie. Or MythBusters. Or Dirty Jobs. Or Man vs Wild. (Yes, we love the Discovery Channel.) The ladybugs are taking over my house, because it's too cold for them to be outside. They're total wusses, just like me.

My toes are cold, and I've got on two pair of socks. I want to have a fire this evening, but John didn't split enough wood the other day for me to start one for another hour or two. I think he did it on purpose. I came back from gathering eggs earlier and thought that my teeth were all going to break because I was chattering so hard.

Siiigh. It is so hard to be me sometimes. I wish I had a donut right now.

Well, I did get some really cool old stuff today, and I'll tell you all about my stuff, and my upcoming projects, next week. And I got to see Margaret. Yay!!

ps-Sarah!!! I'm so sorry you don't feel well!! I love you!!! Everyone, pray for my dear friend Sarah, because she doesn't feel well. Thanks!!

Friday, February 15

Friday Confessions

Well, this one isn't quite as frightening bad. I mean, I'm still ashamed. But I will take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee (yes, I know it's like 2 in the afternoon. It's been one of those days. I love coffee. I'm a grownup, and I'm allowed! Leave me alone, or my boyfriend will come back, and there's gonna be some trouble ... Sorry. I digress.), and open up. Come, try to decipher what's going on inside my head. Figure out why I tick! Help me analyze my dreams! Lock me away, leave the kids with John, and let me have a much needed vacation in the crazy house, where I get to do lots of 'garden therapy.' Huh? What? Who said that?

Anyway. I love healthy food. (That's not my confession.) Don't laugh! It's true. I love growing my own food in my garden, knowing where it comes from. I have a huge crush on whole wheat flour, and making my own bread, and I use organic half & half because it tastes better, and I really love it when I make a meal for people, and they lean back with full bellies and say, 'Man, that was great! I don't even want to know what was in it, though. I'll just get depressed.' And I can grin and say, 'Actually, it was really good for you.' I snack on baby carrots and multi-grain crackers, I haven't had a coke in my house in ... well, ever, and even my cookies are fairly good for you!!


There's always a but.

And if I keep it up, this will be my butt.

Because, ladies, if I had to choose between a lifetime knowing the love of my husband, and a lifetime of knowing the love of what I'm about to share with you ... well, it might not be pretty.

Are you ready?

(Oh, I'm just so ashamed. And hungry after googling all these pictures.)

My dear friends, please help me. I have a problem.

Hi, my name is Brea, and I'm a donut-holic.

(Hi, Brea.)

Yes, it's true. I really do have a problem!!

Well, my mouth isn't that big, but you get the idea. I am so very, eternally thankful that there isn't a Krispy Keme in Bastrop.

My kids make themselves I make my kids a breakfast of Life cereal oatmeal with fresh fruit and real yogurt (you now, the kind with the live cultures) and when John wakes up, I have to go to HEB for milk. Even though we're not out of milk. And since I'm there, I might as well get a donut. Seeing how that was my entire reason for making up the milk excuse to get out of my house. We do always seem to need milk, after all. It's not like I buy three of them and scarf them all down on my way home! Gross! How dare you suggest such a thing. I am a picture of self-control.

NUJ fupure i ohnerq ifo348907 bpqbkadsdr -9piln bn cghn

Sorry, I had to wipe the drool off the keyboard. I hate it when that happens!

And if there was a Krispy Kreme here in Bastrop (remember, I'm glad there isn't one here. I'm glad there isn't one here. I'm glad there isn't one here. Maybe if I keep saying that, I'll believe it one day.), I might even have more of a problem. Did you know that KK makes a whole wheat donut now????

Man, if I could find whole wheat donuts, I could justify eating like 5 times as many of them!!!!!!

I have dreams that start off like this: I'm back in junior high, or some other cliche place where one might be really insecure. As I get my books, the bell rings, but no one goes to class. They're all standing there looking at me. E gads!!!!! I'm NEKKID!!!!! Bare as a jaybird!!!! Well, I don't know if totally nekkid would be appropriate. So maybe I'm in my skivvies. Everyone is pointing and laughing, and I try to run away and hide. But all the doors I try are locked. I don't know what to do! But then ...

Then, I see something. A light in the distance, one that might save me from the horrible predicament I'm in. Because let's admit it, no matter how popular you were in junior high (which, by the way, I totally wasn't!!), it would NOT have been cool to be walking down the hall naked in my undies. I'm just saying.

Wait, could it be? It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's ...

A man with a large tray of donuts!!

Now, most normal people having this dream that I totally made up that I actually had last week would have grabbed the tray, spilling donuts everywhere, and used it to shield themselves until they made it to the locker room where they had forgotten their clothes. Or something like that.

Not moi. Oh, no. I grab a donut off the tray, and saunter down the hall to said locker room, not caring anymore what the world, or the popular kids, or the jocks, or the band nerds, or the goths said (not that I was a band nerd. No I wasn't. NO, I WASN'T. Sarah, keep your mouth closed on the subject of band nerds, because I have completely mortifying pictures of us you in band, holding oboes an oboe. I'm just saying). Because with my donut in my hand, I am above all that. I don't care if they don't like my lime green bra (not that I actually owned one of those in seventh grade), or my neon orange undies, or the fact that I'm wearing them together. If their eyes hurt from all the clashing colors on my pasty-white skin (I look scary in the winter. I'll admit that much), that's their problem.


Because I have a donut!!!!

I'm telling you, if I don't get help soon, I'm going to wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and see this:

Except less jaundiced, because I do happen to love being outside.

With a good book.

And a nice cup of herbal tea.

And a donut.

Please help.

Later; and Gardens

There will be a new Friday Confession before I go to bed this evening, I promise!! I haven't figured out yet what it is ... but it will be here soon, I have faith. Oh, and before I forget, Happy (belated) Valentine's Day to everyone!!

But ... today is going to be pretty crazy for moi. I've got about 98 things on my to-do list today, and of course, I accidentally slept in this morning. I didn't get up until 7:45, and I feel like I'll be playing catch-up all morning. Ah, such is life, though, and I've decided I'll still have a positive attitude. :) I've got to get John's work clothes dried and pressed before we take him to work later this morning, and I need to do my big grocery trip. We really only go to the grovery store once every two weeks, usually with a mini-trip on the opposite week for milk and veggies and things that go bad quickly. But I'll get 90% of my groceries for the rest of the month bought this afternoon. And yes, I go with all three of the kids, and yes, I actually tent to have a wonderful time with all of them! I get confused when I have to go to the store by myself, because then I have to do things like push the cart, and pick up items off the bottom shelves for myself. I don't like to do that. :)

And right now (like, as soon as I get my lazy butt off the computer), I've got to get my garden started! I've been procrastinating like you wouldn't believe, because they keep telling us it's going to rain, so I wait to plant, but it never rains ... so I'm just going to start planting. Well, my bigger seeds, at least, like all the chard, both spinaches, and my peas. I put the potatoes in last week. And all the lettuce will go in Monday, because I don't feel like everything getting washed away like last year.

I'm starting my tomatoes indoors tomorrow (anyone have a grow light they'd like to let me borrow??), and I'll be able to put in pretty much everything except my okra in a month. Our average last frost date around here is about March 15, and even if we have a frost after that, all the plants are so small that they're very easy to cover for a night or two. This year, I'm planting everything from seed, something new for me, and I'm so excited! I've got chard, two kinds of spinach, 5 or so different lettuces, Lincoln peas, 3 kinds of pole beans (I would say green beans, but I had a little too much fun ordering new stuff, and I don't think any of them are green ... oops!), bush beans, 9 kinds of tomatoes, spineless okra, painted mountain corn, pumpkins, peppers, and about 12 or 15 kinds of herbs. Check out this website for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds if you haven't before, and get a catalog. They sell only heirloom, organic, non-GMO seeds, and their prices are still better than just about any other place I've found. And shipping is only $3, no matter how much you order. Seriously!! And they're so nice on the phone! I love them!!

If you haven't planned a garden yet for this spring, it's not too late! Well, it's too late for potatoes, and if you can't get your lettuce in within the next week, I'd probably skip that, too. (Oops, you people up North are probably thinking I've lost it. I'm talking to people here in Central or South Texas!) Home Depot has started carrying plants, but except for spinach (which is so easy to grow, everyone should do it!!) nothing really needs to be put in for another month. So, if you're seed-inclined, order seeds and you should have them in 10 days, or just start getting your ground ready for planting. If you need to build up your soil, call or email me {brea_stewart(at)hotmail(dot)com} and I can probably help you out with that.

Don't fear the garden, people!! God gave us the most wonderful things to eat, and most of them can be grown right in your back (front?) yard! Embrace the dirt!

Tuesday, February 12

Coming soon ...

Not a baby. Sorry. I wish.

I'm still trying to figure out this Friday's Friday Confessions, on that won't make you flee from me because you're afraid of catching whatever the hell I have that makes me so strange look at me funny if we were to run into each other in a grocery store. I have my street cred to think about, people. Seriously.

However! I have some fun news. The following Friday, I'm unloading dropping off my kids with my mom, so John and I can have a lovely anniversary weekend. Yay me! While I'm there, I'll be co-authoring the Friday Confessions for 2/22 with my mom a friend of mine. It'll be Confessions by Proxy, and my mom my friend will anonymously be posting her confession. And then you'll gain a little bit of insight into why I am the way I am why I have such a lovely mom friend.

She doesn't want anyone to know where this Confession is coming from, so on the off chance that I accidentally reveal my mom's my friend's identity, let's keep it a secret, ok? Well, we can tell Clive, but that's it. He's very trustworthy. You can see it in his eyes.

Anyway, a little hint on that unknown person's Confession:

This is Ami. He's on Miami Ink. I've never seen Miami Ink.

Man, am I gonna be grounded when she sees this ... Oh, well! Life is short. Easier to ask forgiveness than permission, right? Back me up here, people!!

ps- I think Blogger is trying to kill me. I've never had such a slow connection! In retrospect, it might be my horrible internet. It probably is. We have a lot of problems with our country cable.

Sorry, Blogger! I love you!! Hugs and kisses!!

Monday, February 11

Pondering Encouragement, and a few random thoughts

I'm back! I went to a retreat this weekend with the lovely, lovely, wonderful ladies from my church. We were up at Camp Tejas, outside Giddings, so I didn't even have to drive very far-it's only about 25 minutes from my driveway to the inn we stayed at on the campgrounds. Our speaker was Melana Hunt Monroe, and she was fantastic. She spoke on seeing life from Heaven's view, which, coincidentally, is the title of a book she co-authored with her father, T. W. Hunt. I highly, highly recommend that everyone who has ever struggled with anything go out and buy it.

I drove a friend of mine, Anne, home. She lives a few streets away from me, so it worked out very well. Anne has had diabetes since she was a little kid, and she was recently in the hospital for heart surgery. She developed an infection in her foot (which I think is fairly common in people with diabetes), and ended up losing like half her foot. Me? I think I'd probably be fairly upset. Anne? Not upset. She is the most positive person I've ever met. I'm an upbeat, glass-is-half-full kind of person, and she makes me look like a depressed recluse. Seriously. I'm crazy about her.

On the way home, Anne and I started talking about witnessing to people, and how God uses each of us in different ways. She asked me if I ever feel like I'm not doing enough to reach out to people, and talk about the wonderful gift of salvation that we've been given through Christ. (Not her exact words; I'm adding a little here so you can get the gist of a fairly long conversation.) She wanted to hear my opinion, but she also was asking because that's how she feels at times.

She didn't know it at the time, but she really hit a nerve in my. Well, something that used to be a nerve. I am a shy person. I can chat with strangers in line at the grocery store (I am my mother's daughter, no denying that!), but me? Walk up to someone I don't know/barely know and start 'witnessing'? Yeah. No. Not going to happen. The mere thought makes my heart race and my palms sweat. Now, let me say something. I am in no way embarrassed about my God, my Saviour, my faith, or anything involved with any of those things. I just don't have a gift for speaking to people. I stutter, bumble, babble, forget everything I've ever been taught since I was 2, or, more likely to happen, I just don't talk. I am not good at articulating things on the fly. I am good at emails, snail mail, blogging, whatever. I need time to compose my thoughts. More than anything, I don't want to be a poor witness for Christ, and have people think, 'Yeah, if this is how all those fundamentalists think, no thank you!'

So yes, back to her original question, I used to struggle with that issue enormously. But after studying the Bible for many years, and after wise council from some lovely Titus 2 women, I have come to realize something. I don't have to walk up to people and say 'Do you love Jesus?' to witness! I am witnessing to my kids and husband every day. I may not be good at talking to people, but maybe one of my kids will be. My behavior and my attitude are a witness to everyone I come into contact with, from my intimate friends and close relatives, to the way I handle myself at the grocery store and on the highway. And, at least for now, my ministry is my home!

I think many women, and moms of younger children in particular, struggle with this. We feel like we should be doing something. Guess what, ladies? WE ARE!! If you want a truly glorious example of this, track down Marriage to a Difficult Man: The Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. (A post on this book coming soon.) But I somewhat digress.

As I was telling Anne, she (Anne) is a lovely example of things Christ spoke. She loves people that other might overlook. She always has a kind word, or a sweet smile. She might not be able to remember my baby's name, but she always asks about him, and how his cough is, or how he's doing with walking, or something else random I mentioned to her previously. She is an encourager!!

My heart is lifted every time I talk with Anne. I come away from every conversation feeling mildly guilty, though, because I just know that I got the better deal! There's no way that she could get as much out of a chat as I can! She gives and gives, and I always walk away knowing that I've seen a little piece of Christ shining through her. She thinks she doesn't witness?? She does, more than she'll ever know, more than any of us could ever tell her. She'll be laying so many crowns at Christ's feet one day, he'll need help picking them all up. For real.

We all have different gifts, different strengths, and different abilities. I believe the key is being open to what and where the Spirit calls you, and being able to accept what He says.

Anyone have any thoughts about any of this? Any experiences in your own lives about how someone has touched you, or ministered to you, without even knowing it?

Friday, February 8

Friday Confessions

Ready? Time for me to make a confession and let you think less of me get to know me a little better. Remember, these are super-secret, so we can't ever tell John. I mean, the ice skating was bad enough.

But there's something I've got to get off my chest.

It's something that I've struggled with for a while.

I know my friend Lyndsey has similar struggles, and it's nice to be able to talk about your problems with a good friend, one who understands what you're dealing with.

From what I've heard, it's actually something that many women (and a few men??) struggle with.

Are you ready?

Hello, Lover!!

Yes, ladies, I confess. I am completely and utterly obsessed with with the mortal god that is Clive Owen.

Oh, my. Although, I must now say that I hate Jennifer Aniston. Life isn't fair. I mean, God has given her that hair. And body. And success. Can't she be content with that? Must she go around, taking pictures with my obsession crush? It's not right, I tell you.

Oh, look! He's brooding. And slightly tousled. I'm loving the trench and black tie and angry look. Mmmmm ...

Aww, but what have we here? Light colored suit, a mischievous little smirk, great hair, a few wrinkles in the jacket (he obviously is enough of a real person to not obsess about his appearance the way I do the way other celebrities do). It's possible that I may have cried a little when Jason Bourne shot him in the first Bourne movie, because that means he can't be in the other Bourne movies. It's all very sad and tragic, I tell you.

Oh, and the movie King Arthur? Swoon!! Loved it!! His accent makes me melt. His eyes make me melt. His dirty, messy hair makes me melt. His lovely, lovely teeth ... well, you get the picture. Oh, and I hate Keira Knightly. She was his love interest in that movie. Again, life just isn't fair.

And then he dies in Children of Men. Why do people keep killing him????? WHY?????

It seems through each of my pregnancies, I develop a fixation with one person. A crush, obsession, whatever. I blame it on all the hormones. (And every time I see the word 'hormones,' I hear the aunt in My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding saying 'the hor-MONE-ees' and I laugh. But I digress.) Anyway, guess who it was during my pregnancy with David? Uh-huh. That's right. Except that unlike my first two pregnancy crushes, I'm still waiting for this crush to go away.

Siiiigh. I can wait.

Please don't tell John.

And then go out and rent all of my angel's Clive's movies. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is a downer, but it's great!!

Wednesday, February 6

I wish I may ...

Sweet Jessica at Farm Fresh (seriously, her girls are ridiculously adorable!!) tagged me with this meme. Like over a week ago. I have procrastination issues. Back off! So here's the directions: post two wish lists; 5 material wishes and 5 spiritual or more meaningful wishes. Then tag five people. We'll see about the five people part, but here goes on the wishes!

List 1:

1. I wish we lived further out in the country, with a bigger house (to fill with more little people and guests!) and a bigger piece of land (to fill with more chickens, guineas, goats, and a ginormous garden).

2. I wish we were foster parents. (This will happen, God willing, in the future, when our kids are older, but hey!, I'm really impatient.)

3. Is a hope a wish? I wish (hope) that all my seeds would properly sprout this season, and that we wouldn't have quite as much rain as we had at the beginning of last spring (seriously, all my plants drowned last year. Two weeks after I planted them all. I'm not kidding), and a little more rain throughout the summer.

4. I wish I had a grain mill, so I could take forever to take it out of the box, struggle to find a place to put it, take months to buy grain, mess it up the first few times, use it sporadically, and make a huge mess throughout the entire process grind my own wheat to make my awesome bread.

5. I wish we had the money to remodel the kitchen, because every time I cook, I end up frustrated about the wonky layout, hateful stove, and my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad oven. (Hey, 10 bonus points of you can name that book!)

List Two:

1. I wish John's job was a little easier. Not the actual, physical part of the job, but the emotional, stressful, round-and-round part. (I can't go into to much, but my wonderful man has worked for Chili's for over 19 years, and they should be treating him better than they are.) I pray about this every single day.

2. I wish John and I prayed together. Other than at meals.

3a. I pray that God will continue to show Himself to me, and that I would be open and sensitive to the things He wants me to learn.

3b. I wish I might learn everything God wants me to learn when Charlie Clough comes to our church next month. (A post probably coming on Dr Clough later, but check out his website for now. Read the front page, 'About Charlie,' and 'About the Framework' for a good little teaser!)

4. I wish I was better with words when I speak to people about God. I feel like I can sympathize with Moses sometimes, when God told him that he was going to convince the nation of Israel to leave Egypt. (Moses was all, 'Seriously? Have you heard me talk? It's not that great. Me no speak good.' Ok. Sorry. He didn't actually say that. He really said this.) I just don't think well on my feet. I really admire people who have all this information in their heads, and can access it when they need it, and are able to answer at a moment's notice. I stutter, and get nervous (I'm pretty shy), and forget everything I've ever learned, and I pull blanks.

5. I wish I had more patience. Although, maybe not, because a friend of mine told me when she first got married that she prayed for patience, and ended up with five kids under the age of eight. God has a wonderful sense of humor, people! So maybe I wish I had more wisdom.

So, there you go. Me. I can only think of a few more things I would have put on the first list (like an unlimited gift card to Starbucks!), but an endless amount of things for the second.

I'm going to tag Jesnicole, Heidi, and Jeanne. I am sad in the few number of friends I have. Well, maybe I'm not. Most of my friends just aren't online!!

Friday, February 1

Friday Confessions

Well, I think I may start a new Thing. Friday Confessions. I'm sure everyone will just love the idea, and start checking in religiously every Friday, because nothing is more fun than hearing how crazy other people are to make you feel better about yourself, right? I'll post something new and totally insane and frightening honest about myself each Friday. So prepare for some confessions that will make you have bad dreams and wet the bed, and wake up feeling better about yourself while you think at least I'm not that person laugh. Hopefully.

And here's the first one. My husband would leave me and take the children if he knew about this, so maybe we could just keep it between you and me, ok?

I love to watch figure skating. The costumes! The music!! The drama!!! The faux-sexual tension!!!!

The crotch shots!!!!! (Seriously, how often do you have to wax to be in this profession??)

And, what's it like on your first day of practice with a new partner? 'Oh, hi there. My name is Brian, and I'll be skating with you for the next few years. Let's go ahead and start off with that move where I feel all your lady parts as I hoist you above my head, ok?'

I get so excited when John is working on a Saturday, and the kids are all upstairs having nap/quiet time, and I sit on the couch to fold some laundry, and decide to flip on the boob tube, and this is what pops up:

Check out that eyeliner!! It's like Mad Max: Musical on Ice!! Where can I get tickets to that??

Oh, it's a wonderful, wonderful thing. But for real, let's not tell John.

Meme from Jessica coming soon ...