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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Calling All Green Beans!

Garden fresh green beans, cooked as Chef Kidlet Two would say "el dente" and then sprinkled with some salt is a meal in itself.
Kidlet Three and I have enjoyed green beans with our supper meal almost every day the past week. And we aren’t sick of them.

When I was growing up, we had a big garden. My parents grew green beans, carrots, onions, potatoes, ground cherries, raspberries, beets and probably more. I know it was a big garden because my brother and I were the elected weeders! Scooting on our bottoms we would carefully weed the beans so the flowers wouldn’t fall off. Flowers meant beans to us! It was a never-ending job keeping those weeds under control. Wow, that was a memory I hadn’t conjured up in a long time. Weeding the family garden. When I think of it now it wasn’t such a bad ordeal….

Back to green beans.

In my previous post, this summer has been the B-word summer. There was no time to plant a garden. Thankfully, my co-workers did have time to plant their gardens and it seems they over planted. Many co-workers have brought in bags of fresh lettuce, cucumbers and, drum roll please, green beans. I think I actually kissed the last co-worker that handed me a bag of Just-Picked-Green Beans. To her embarrassment but I was really, really, really, really happy to get more green beans!

This last bag of beans I decided to freeze. The thought of a big serving of bright green beans in the middle of a snowstorm this winter was almost too much joy to contain! If you have never frozen green beans, let me show you how.

1. Pull out your favorite cookbook that has instructions for freezing vegetables. You will want to see how many minutes you need to "blanch" the veggies. My Betty Crocker cookbook said 3 minutes for green beans.

2. Fill a stockpot with cold water and bring to a boil on your stove.

3. Wash green beans and cut into bite-sized pieces.
4. With water at a full boil, place green beans into stock pot. Cover and immediately start timing.
5. Fill a separate bowl with ice water (or very cold water).
6. After the boiling time has been met, drain the beans in a strainer.

7. Immediately place them in the cold water.

8. Keep the water cold so it may be necessary to strain the beans again as you refill the bowl with cold water.

9. Drain the beans.

10. I use the Food Saver food system to freeze food. After I took this picture I realized that I never really cleaned off the gummy-label-stuff on the top. Please believe me, that is no graw-doo.

11. I cut bags to the appropriate size and place the veggies in the bag to seal.

Winter…come on. I’m getting ready for you with some fresh veggies.

By the way, I’m calling out for more beans. If you have any garden produce that you are not going to use, let me know. I will try to contain my excitement if you hand me a bag of produce…

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So Amazed...

Here are a few quick shots of amazing things I've seen recently.

Just outside my Work-Place-Door is this strong and hardy petunia
    This silly plant is growing out of the concrete sidewalk!  Isn't that amazing!
    Check out this salad that I devoured at the Green Mill Restaurant
    This is the Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad and it is absolutely delicious!  And for those of us counting Weight Watcher Points, this whole salad is only 7 points.  Major amazing!  I ate all seven points and then licked the plate.  I didn't lick the plate but I wanted to...
    Speaking of food, we had supper in Kidlet Two's city last night.  We wanted a quick place to eat so he brought us to Smash Burger.  I ordered a Smash Chicken which was a chicken breast flattened to the thickness of a tortilla.  Well, not quite that thin but oh my goodness it was thin!  Then it was grilled and placed on a butter bun with lettuce, tomato and red onion.  Kidlet Two and I split an order of Smash Fries:  french fries with rosemary on them.  Oh goodness...they were finger-licking good.  Please don't ask me what the Weight Watcher points for that meal was...I dipped into my reserve point fund for that meal, I'm afraid!
    I have to get off this amazing food topic...so...moving on...
    Mr. Mushroom decided to grow out of the retaining wall along our driveway.  It was a beautiful white beauty that lasted just a few days in the humidity and storms we've been having.  But I noticed it...it was amazing!
    Kidlet Three's baseball team color was teal.  Almost every Baseball Mom painted their fingernails and toenails the Team Color this summer.  Here are my dainty toes in the team spirit!
    I had to pose my feet in a certain way so my bunions weren't so prominent.  Bunions are amazing but not so much in a good way.  That my toenails were painted blue was amazing!
    Anyway, that is a quick peek at my Amazing Moments for today.  What amazing things have you seen this week?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Circle of Friends

I am absolutely so blessed. 

My circle of friends has grown.

Sadly, for many years I felt I had to limit my friendships.  In hindsight I realize I was believing a lie.  The lie being I had to surround myself only with friends from the Club I worshipped at.  Seriously!  That is what I did and I missed so many additional friendship opportunities during those years.  My Worship Club friends are precious but God had a plan for me to see the many others in my life.

Praise God, He showed me the truth.  I now see and have friends from every aspect of my life:  work, sports, neighbors, past-sports events the Kidlets were in, my worship Club and other worship Clubs.

I am so blessed!

I could be on the phone all day long with my circle of friends!!!  My Friend Bucket is full of people that laugh with me, cry with me, some of them pray with me and others would never think of praying.  And I love all of them the same because each one brings something new and different into my life. 

What a blessing friends are.

This morning I have am having breakfast with one of those Circles of Friends.  We've been friends for over
20 years.  We call ourselves the Birthday Babes for some reason!!

Last fall we took our first trip together.  What a hoot that trip was!

The fun started at the gas station learning how to put gas in the van...





We stopped to enjoy the sights along the five-hour trip...
We acted goofy all weekend...
Shopped in Many Small Cities...
Wandered into a City Festival complete with the
REE COLAAAAA players...
Cooked our meals and ate together...
And enjoyed scenery like this.

I am so thankful that God removed the Lie Blinder that was on my eyes to see all of the people around me that love me and want to be my friend. 

Just this week we had the End-of-the-Season Baseball party.  The baseball moms have become friends over the summer.  The kind of friends that won't end just because we had the last party.  In the fun and goofiness of the summer and at the party, we've become "Check the Chin Hair" friends.  We've decided we have spent enough time with each other that we could point out a chin hair with each other.  There were many teary eyes saying goodbye at the end of the night.

Check-the-Chin-Hair friends.  After all, that is what friends do with each other, right!

How about you?  Are you friends with your neighbors?  Start there.  You've got one thing in common already:  you both like the area you live in!  All of my neighbors do "Neighbor Store" with each other.  It is not uncommon to get a phone call like this "Neighbor, I am baking and realize I don't have enough eggs.  Do you have two eggs I could borrow?"  Neighbors on all sides of us have that kind of friendship with me.

I am blessed.

Lord God, thank you for the friends you have placed in my life.  Thank you for those that have been with me for years and years and those that are new this year.  Even the friends that read this blog that I haven't met.  I ask that You bless each and every one of them.  First and foremost, Lord, give them eyes to see the Love that You have for them.  Then, bless them and protect them.  Let them know I love and appreciate them, too.  You, God, thank you for the awesome friendship you and I have.  In Jesus's name...Amen.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Focus

What do you focus on?

What is it that captures most of your thinking time?

How do you "fuel yourself" to get through life?

Today, when walking to my car after work, I had a
God-Nudge.  It came as a picture in my head.  I had
to laugh because God didn't give me the ability to draw
or paint very good, so I "saw" the picture as stick people.
Which is exactly where my drawing ability lies.

This is what my God-Nudge was...
I saw God standing with His arms wide open toward me and His eyes
were locked onto mine.  Somehow I knew He was never going to blink
and He is never going to look away.  He was "locked on"...locked onto ME! 
And I could see that He has a love for me through His eyes.

And I saw myself looking back at him (do you see the goofy lines I tried
to draw between God and I)?  We are looking at each other and there was

NOTHING ELSE TO FOCUS ON

What else would there be to look at if the God of Creation, The Almighty
King of Kings had eyes...just for me!?!?!?  I was mesmerized by Him
and believe it or not, God was mesmerized by...Me.

Neither one of us wanted to stop looking...focusing...on each other!

Well, then almost like a cartoon comic strip, my God-Nudge vision
switched to this stick-people picture...
There is an enemy that sneaks up behind me and shoots me with
evil arrows. Arrows of lies, destructive thoughts, bad messages that the
enemy wants me to play over and over in my head, and arrows to destroy,
injure or harm me.  Boy, are those nagging, irritating, distracting, and hurtful
arrows.  Constantly bombarding me.

The third picture in the God-Nudge vision was this...
I turned.  I turned to start fighting the enemy.  I was fighting those
arrows and my focus was now on anger, negative thoughts, despair,
muttering and hopelessness.  There was no happiness there and I was
sad.

I had turned my back to focus on a fight I didn't have to fight.
I had lost my focus on God.

See, the fight has already been fought.  By Jesus, with the enemy, in a place
called Hell.  And Jesus won.  In a future post I will thrill you with my stick
art on this Truth!

The silly enemy doesn't "get it".
He lost.
He can never win.
It's over.
It's over for the redeemed. 
For me and others that believe in the Resurrected Christ.

So this enemy that doesn't deserve to have his name mentioned,
sees my admiration for God.  He sees the love between
God and I and how we are focused on each other.  And he goes
to work scheming to distract me with his poison arrows.  He pulls
together a good supply of hatred darts and starts firing. 

Now if I keep my focus on God, I'm okay.  Because God will
never lose His focus on me.  If there is a focus to be lost it will
be on my part.  It is important that I read God's Word, talk
to Him throughout the day, listen to Him because He does
speak, and choose Him over all things.  It is choice.

I choose to focus on Him.  And I choose to ask Him for
help in keeping my eyes on Him.  There are times I wear
down from the nagging pokes.  And I am tempted to turn
around and yell at that pesty enemy to leave me alone. 
If I'm honest I have to say I have done that. I have turned.
The longer I keep my back to God, the longer that my
focus leaves My Lord, the harder it is to return because
of the shame, ignorance, lies and all that other junk the
icky arrows have shot at me. 

Oh, God, I need You!!!!  That is my daily cry.

God wants to lock onto your eyes.
He created you and about you He knows all.
He loves, loves, loves, loves you.
He wants to focus on you and longs for
you to focus on Him.

Focus.
Where is yours?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The B word...

Baseball.

The B word.

What were you thinking I meant?

Yes, baseball has been the ONLY word this summer.
I think we counted close to 40 baseball games that we have sat through
that Kidlet Three's team played this summer. 

Here are a few B word memories from this summer.
Great teaching and encouragement from the coaches...
receiving a first Mohawk haircut in the Omaha hotel parking lot....
tailgating under the stars in the parking lot of another hotel after a late baseball game...
eating almost every meal this summer in a restaurant...
Tournament weekends.  Play a game...wait for a game...play a game...and wait....
making new friends...
diving for the baseball to turn a great play....
Deal or No Deal complete with suitcases...
celebrating victories...
showing good sportsmanship...
having a team poster...
cheering with Kidlet One and Son-In-Law...
wearing matching team tee shirts to most of the games and that not being "weird"...
videoand the ever-favorite Before-The-Game-Chant...

Baseball...I am going to miss that word I think...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Seriously...

Seriously, when was the last time I laughed as hard as I did yesterday?

I think I actually laughed all day.

My sides ache today.

The Fourth of July is not necessarily a funny holiday.  It is a reflective
holiday.  A time to be thankful for the vision, passion and drive our
forefathers had for this country. 
My flower boxes sported flags yesterday, despite the rain.   I am very proud to
fly the flag.  And very thankful for the freedoms that I have as a citizen
of the United States of America.  Several times yesterday I overheard
others voicing a recognition of the freedoms we have and the understanding
of the price that had to be paid (and still has to be paid) for our freedom.

The Husband and Kidlet Three helped clean the house on Saturday. 
Wow, is that a good job to have done.  Being gone almost every
weekend for baseball, plus having games during the week and working
fulltime, my house has been neglected this spring/summer.  I think the
house was smiling yesterday, too.  We had a big day planned on the
Fourth so the cleaning had to be done earlier.

A family from Kidlet Three's baseball team invited us to their house
for a Swimming Fourth of July party.  We headed over to their house
in the pouring rain with the potato salad and apple crumble
Bring-A-Dish-to-Pass foods (look for a how to make potato salad
post in the future) that I'd made.  This family has an incredible pool in
their backyard.  The boys were able to swim in between downpours
of rain.  The adults, well, this is where I started laughing.  There were
a total of three families at this picnic and as we got to know each other
we realized we had mutual friends, that we had similar life-stories and
that God had just plain ordained since the beginning of time, that we
should meet.  And oh the stories we began to tell and the laughter
rang out.  It was such fun but way too short. 

See, The Husband and I had previously planned a Fourth of July party
at our house.  In fact, we had four or five couples coming to our house
at 5 p.m.  We went to one party at noon and we had the next party at
our house at five.  The dilemma was that we were having a great time
at Party One.  So, we invited them all over to our house for Round Two.
And oh, what a blessing, Party-One-People came to Party Two!

My camera was out to snap some memories of our Fourth of July party. 
Especially since we had two different groups of people coming together
for the first time.  I just knew this should be recorded!  But, 17 people in my
Comfortable-But-Not-Equipped-for-17-People-Four-Children-And-A-Dog
house was, shall we say...chaotic.  We grilled, we ate, we got to know
each other, we chased kids, and we laughed.  We started at 5 p.m. and
the last couples left at 12:30 a.m.  

As people left the house and I stood in the screen door, I could hear
chuckles as they walked to their cars.

See, God has been so good to The Husband and I that we love to
tell His stories. Some of these stories are blunders that we've made,
poor choices or just purely selfish ambitions that God, in His
heart-bursting love for us, comes in and makes things right.  He cleans
up after us and straightens things out.  And some of these stories are
hilarious in hindsight.  That is what was going on around our table last
night.  Everyone sharing, and we make sure everyone gets equal time,
a story or fact about themselves. 

It was a fun party.  But the camera sat on the cupboard, untouched. 
It might be because we were sitting so close together around that table
that four other people would have to move if I had wanted to get up. 

Laughter.  It truly is good for the soul and is a good medicine. 

Father God, thank you for tickling us yesterday.  It felt so good to laugh
and celebrate Independence Day!  Thank you for the new friends that we
made and thank you for the Stand-By-You-No-Matter-What friends
that we have, too.  You are awesome!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Treasures

Treasures:  things of great value. 

I'm decluttering the family room.  For years it has been the storage room. 
Unusable as a family room and packed full of The Husband's Junk
treasures we didn't use.  More on that later....
 Meet my grandparents, Vi and Floyd.  They were treasures!  My dad's
parents that lived in my Growing-Up-Town.  My mom's parents died
when she was young so Vi and Floyd were the grandma and grandpa
that I knew.  I just recently found this picture of them, which is ironic,
because in my decluttering, I found treasures that had belonged to Vi and Floyd.

Grandma labeled everything.  In her shaky handwriting, she would document.
This is her documentation.  Precise.  And cut to size.  There were
small slips of paper found all over in their house after they both passed
away.  This slip was taped inside of a baggie.  And in the baggie
was this necklace:
I wore the necklace to work the other day.  This is one treasure
I just can't leave in the baggie.  But did you catch what year this
necklace was purchased in?  1927! Amazing!

And this treasure had been in my storage family room for many years. 
In a hutch that I thought contained fabric from Grandma Vi,
I found this necklace and the following:









And this small purse. These are small beads and in such detail.
What really got me excited, however, were the crocheted items.
Stacks of potholders
And the absolutely beautiful tablecloth.  I can crochet but I've never
seen such a large piece of art like this. 
These cloth napkins are from my mom's side of the family.
Going "green", I would love to get rid of paper napkins
and use these instead. 
I'm so happy to have made a dent in the decluttering. 
I have thrown away many black garbage bags full
of things we haven't used in years recycled many items
from the former storage room.  Just getting extra space
was "of great value" to me, a treasure.  But
 finding these pieces of history, finding jewelry
that my grandma wore, is priceless.  And
I'm not going to store them away to gather dust.  I
am going to use them.  Treasures usually don't last.

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. "