Sunday, February 28


In 2002, a good friend introduced me to Mother Bread. (Thank you Erin!) I was immediately hooked by her warmth, energy and high sugar content... if you ever had a cobblestone muffin (before they changed the recipe), you'll understand the attraction! In 2005, I cheerfully signed on to Mother Bread's team and dove into the world of bread, pastries and Panera Warmth. For four years, I was blessed to work with the wonderful people of Panera. I learned more about managing people, numbers and and the chaos of retail food service than anyone could ever teach in a classroom. I became a Serve Safe instructor and developed confidence and conflict management skills. But life changes, the circumstances and people around us swirling and eddying in unpredictable currents. Changes in me and my life finally prompted me this past week to say my goodbyes to Mother Bread. I am thankful for everything I learned and all the skills and good memories I will take with me.

As is always true, when one door closes another opens. As I say goodbye to Panera, I step eagerly into the next chapter of my life - one that will draw on everything I learned before and challenge me in new ways. Saying hello to Mary Kay is a whole new world for me - the girl who never had time for make up or primping - but one that fits perfectly where I am and where my priorities lie right now. Once again, I've been blessed to find myself surrounded by support and encouragement from wonderful and talented people. I look forward to this journey and am delighted to wake up in the morning challenged and ready to go! I'll keep you posted, and appreciate your prayers and words of wisdom as I jump into this new role with enthusiasm and optimism. :0)

Truth, Laughter and Travel

So I'm madly behind in my posting with all that's going on, but I'll take a shot at catching up. The 18th and 19th of this month, Eric and I snuck away for two days and headed to Lancaster, PA to see Mark Gungor's Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage Seminar. I can't even begin to tell you how fantastic is was! So much truth and so many real facts that cut through the crap modern society presents about love, marriage and the differences between men and women. If you haven't seen or heard of Mark, go here for a clip or look him up on youtube. If you know anyone newly married, planning to get married, just entering the dating world or with a marriage that could use some attention, send them to his material! Based on sound principles whether you're religious or not, Mark has a lot to say that we ALL need to hear!

Also, check out his FlagPage program - like the book The Five Love Languages it will change how you see and interact with everyone around you. Eric and I both did ours, and very much identified with the results and how those characteristics and behaviors impact our marriage and daily life together.
Okay, so that's my plug for LYW. Good stuff; please check it out and pass it on!

Now for the pictures! Since we don't get away much, we splurged while we were in PA and stayed in a B&B. It looked good online and was even more amazing in person! If you're ever in or near Lancaster, treat yourself to a stay at The King's Cottage. Not only is the house itself beautifully appointed, but the service was second to none. I haven't been treated as such a valued guest since we were in Argentina!

We stayed in the Carriage House, it's own little separate building behind the main inn. It had a fireplace, a private dining table for two so you could have breakfast delivered to your room, and these amazing french doors to the bathroom that I decided we must duplicate when we get a house. So decadent and a perfect treat! At every turn the staff was professional and thoughtful - seriously, if you get the chance go visit them! (Tell them we sent you.) :0)

On that trip I also discovered something fun and elegant that I wish I'd thought of or seen sooner - rose petals coated in soap. It sounds simple, but they were beautiful and would be so easy to do! Wouldn't they make great shower favors, or a unique touch for hosting an open house? I'm sure I'm being inordinately impressed by this, but who doesn't like simple, beautiful crafts that are easy to do?

This feels like a short and pale tribute to an awesome mini-vacation, but it will have to do until I learn to take better pictures and master getting everything to line up on this blog so it doesn't take so long to post!

Tuesday, February 16

Creative Journalling

I can't say I'm new to the idea of journalling as a spiritual endeavour, but I can definitely say that I am the old school type when it comes to tracking the tumbling rapids of my thoughts: grab some paper and a pen, and start writing! Although I keep photos, art and other things that touch the cord of beauty in my spirit, they are their own realm and not typically included in my journal.

Today's devotion over on (In)Courage was a beautiful tribute to people who are the opposite of me - the people who drew mind maps when they had to write college papers instead of writing an outline. The ones who can't have function without form, and who can't think unless they're creating.

It was such a blessing to me to read that post and be reminded that it's okay to hold up the daily incidentals that make up our lives as evidence of our hearts' work and worthy of being remembered. While I can't say I'll be changing my journalistic style any time soon, I'll tuck this post in the back of my heart for pondering. I have a feeling the truths wrapped up in it will show up in my life again. What's your journalling style?

Monday, February 15


This week, my Dad pointed something out to me that neither of us have known before: there are unicorns in the Bible. How is it that I have gone to church my whole life, and never known this? Of course I'd heard the rumors that they existed but somehow never made it onto the ark, just as we heard that dragons existed until they were hunted to extinction. Both explanations always came across as simplistic dismissals of midieval art and mythic creatures and so passed by with little attention.

I wish that when I was a teenager, my nose buried in the thickest of fantasy novels for months at a time, someone had known and pointed out to me that there were epicly mythic creatures in my Bible and centuries old conspiracy theories wrapped around it. I think I might have dug in with enthusiam sooner. On the bright side, discovering such things myself makes me the one with all the fascinating topics of conversation!

For now, I am busy with all the resultant questions prompted by this discovery. If they did exist, what happened to them? What else existed then that modern life has relegated to fairy tales? What kernals of truth led to the legends surrounding the unicorn, and what is blantantly invented for story-telling purposes? Does this mean that there will be unicorns again when we get to the new earth?

I feel like I'm having one of those complications-of-time-travel conversations with Matthew where everything goes around in circles until your logic is tied up in knots... If anyone wants to weigh in, I'd love to know what you think! In the meantime, I'll leave you with one plausible and entertaining possibility of what happened to these amazing creatures...

Friday, February 12

Where Have All the Parents Gone?

I hopped on my favorite news site this morning, and what was among the top headlines but this little gem: Girl, 6, Handcuffed, Committed Because Of Classroom Behavior.

I don't really know which annoyed me more, the article itself or the inane comments posted after it by morons who should be culled out of the gene pool by a handful of efficient eugenics laws. I know I am more sensative to such news this week compliments of some appalling situations happening in our local schools. Though they have not yet garnered media attention and the administration is taking a far less martial approach, the principle is the same: teachers and students have the right to be safe in school. If your child is disruptive, insubordinate to reasonable requests and violent, the school district has the right to restrain them in any manner necessary for the protection of others! Don't like that? Then teach your kid to behave!!

What malady of a diseased brain leads a parent to think that their "little angel" should not have to be respectful of adults and employ civilized behavior when out in the world? Has no one figured out that when you don't discipline children young, and teach them what is and is not appropriate you end up with college interns breaking windows trying to assault the boss who fired them? Has no one done the math and realized that if we continue to raise an entire generation of these little monsters that we will decimate our future? What happens in 20 years when there is no one left in the realms of business or education to restrain these tantrum throwing frenetics, and the workplace becomes a free for all of physical trauma every day? It will be too late to fix it then. Especially since there won't even be anyone who knows enough about the old standards to champion their revival.

I have read that the decline of civilization and development of strong, morally sound men and women began in the late 1800's. Before that point, men primarily worked from home or a close by shop in their given vocation. Child rearing responsibilities were shared by both parents, and often supported by extending family living with them or nearby. Positive role models and firm discipline abounded, and children grew up understanding everything from gender roles to their vocation from their earliest years. They grew up to be productive citizens or were cast out of society; end of story. (For an eloquent essay on this subject by a woman I have huge respect for, read this.)

After the industrial revolution, which drew fathers out of their homes and time honored vocations and into "the world", several wars that left swaths of widows and orphans in their wake, and the social revolutions of the 60's and 70's, we find ourselves here. In a social and cultural mess that threatens to eat us all alive. More days than not, I dream of buying a tract of land in the middle of nowhere, posting signs that say "trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again" and withdrawing from this chaos until we are lucky enough to have the Zombie virus wipe everyone out and let us start over.

But then I spend afternoon with a little blonde munchin her mother calls "girl-child". Almost 5 years old, full of boundless energy and laughter. I watch her mother teach her manners, read to her and take her to Sunday school. I watch several sets of friends who have had children in the last year dedicate themselves to their children, enfolding these new lives into a circle of friends and family who see them raised with love and discipline and hope. It is almost enough to convince me that we just might make it.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to start making a point of thanking and encouraging all the parents I know who are doing a good job. I'm going to speak up whenever I see madness and lack of discipline. Finally, I'm going to pray diligently for all the precious little people I know, that they will be safe in this crazy world if we can somehow keep it from self-destructing before they have a chance to change it.

Friday, February 5

Pasta Making 101

The last couple weeks have been busy, so I determined that this afternoon would be playtime. Thus decided, I headed for the kitchen with my newest toy and a good reference book to entertain myself by taking my first stab at making fresh pasta.

While I'm not a fan of semolina flour in bread, I opted to use it for my trial run of pasta since it's traditionally the base for classic egg noodles.

Having opted not to own a KitchenAid, I did everything by hand. Good thing I've got lots of kneading practice from baking bread!

As always, my beloved giant stoneware bowl proved it's versatility and was perfect for the task at hand. (My husband buys me the nicest things!)

Two kinds of flour, some eggs, a splash of water and some elbow grease to mix it all together was all it took to make the dough.

After it rested for 20 min, it was ready to be rolled into sheets...

Enter my beautiful Imperia pasta roller!

As perfectly simplistic in form and function as my flour grinder, I found this a snap to get set up and rolling.

Have I mentioned that I appreciate equipment that is easy to clean, too? Just dust off the excess flour and slide it back in it's box for storage - nice!

These are my sheets of pasta as I rolled the dough out. Each time you roll the dough out, you fold it over and roll it again - a suggested total of 10 times - to reach the flawless consistency you want for your finished product.

(Incidentally, those sheets in the back corner of the picture should have been covered to protect their consistency, not sitting out in the open.)

Once the whole batch is rolled out, it gets another brief rest (covered). Then you slide on your cutter attachment and determine what kind of noodles you want - round (spaghetti) or flat (fettuccine, etc.)

Not being a fan of the former, I opted for the latter.

I should have added a little flour at this point so they stuck together less, but it worked fine as it was.

It was very exciting to see the noodles in their final shape and feel a sense of accomplishment. I thought this was going to be a lot harder to do and take a lot longer than it did.

Clearly I still need to work on properly "nesting" the noodles, as I only kind of managed to get them in sloppy circles rather than proper "nests".

Here's the finished product, waiting neatly in a bowl to be briefly boiled and shared. I can't wait to try again, and to expand my range into flavored pastas, gluten free noodles, and ravioli!

Definitely an afternoon well spent. :0)

Thursday, February 4


Just some pictures from my day. I finally remembered to take a picture of my French press:

I caught the baby stealing a sweet potato, though he had the grace to look guilty about it.
Most of my day was spent getting rolling on Mary Kay. I broke into my starter box, and was more than a little overwhelmed! There hasn't been this much pink in my room since I was four years old...
Tomorrow... making my own pasta!!

Tuesday, February 2

Hellfire & Brimstone

I've been having interesting discussions recently with various people about the amazing things I'm finding in my Geneva Bible. I have to say, the Psalms were never great at holding my attention - until I read the original version! When it came to supplication for protection and requiring the wicked to see justice, David took his hellfire-and-brimstone seriously. I am enthralled, reading in rapt attention the power and specificity of prayer from the lips of a motivated man of God.

I made the mistake of perusing the news today, and immediately found a perfect case on which to practice my new-found praying skills: Rifqa Bary. This poor girl should have the full protection of the courts, child welfare system and her brothers/sisters in Christ. Instead, she is held in suspension - isolated and discouraged in foster care while her family and their expensive lawyers lie and scheme to get her back into their custody so they can extradite her to a muslim country where they can murder her for apostasy with approbation! (That's not hyperbole, it's proven fact. Read the article above for evidence.)

If, like me, you are of Puritan leanings, please pray God's hand moves in justice to scatter the plans being laid down by Rifqa's family, their mosque and their lawyers. If you prefer a more NIV translation of the Bible, then please pray for love, strength and hope for Rifqa. She's been given a tough road to walk, and needs encouragement. Please, pass her story along to everyone you can think of. She may have the spotlight right now, but she's far from alone in her situation. America is built on the freedom of religion, and if we don't stand up and put our feet down to make sure it stays that way we will be wasting the blood of all those who have gone before and sacrificed to make it that way.

Okay... off my soapbox now... but seriously, please pray...

New Endeavors

February? How did it get to be February already?!

There are so many things happening right now, and so many blessings to count. First off, congrats to our friends Heather & Jeremy and Carla & Andy - both families welcomed new babies in January! Many hugs and best wishes to them!

Happy Birthday wishes are due to both my parents, Chris and Celia. We are so blessed to have all of you in our lives and pray fresh blessing and hope for this new year of your lives.

Eric is back on base for several weeks, his days busy with needy planes awaiting repairs. I remain here, laying the groundwork on some exciting developments that I hope will completely reshape daily life here by this summer.

Step 1: Unleash my inner Barbie Doll (in a good way) by signing up to be a Mary Kay Consultant! Although it's not anything I ever thought I would do, I am really excited about this opportunity. I'm just getting my feet wet, but my talented sister has promised to help show me the ropes, so I expect great things!

Step 2: Take the plunge and actually DO something I've been thinking about for quite a while now... start my own Professional Organizing business! After lots of struggling, researching and frustration, I think I've settled on a name: (Anti)Chaos Theory. Like it? I've got the basic pieces in place and hope to have the rest nailed down by the end of the week. It's hugely intimidating to be doing something that's success solely rests on me, but the energy and optimism that working on it has fueled in me has been missing for a long time and I'm delighted to be back in that good headspace.

Though they're only in start-up phase now, the plan is to build them until I can leave my current job and be strictly self-employed. Everything that has happened this past year has prompted me to re-evaluate my life and my priorities, and to seriously look at where my choices/actions are out of alignment with what's really important. So I have determined to change - to take control of my schedule so that my family can come first, and invest myself in things that feed back into me instead of being an energy drain so I can come home and be a positive resource to those I love (not the cranky, exhausted creature I have been of late).

I think that's about everything going on here for now... More to come soon!