Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolving Some Resolutions

I know this is the time of year when everybody is making resolutions.

They're all convinced this will be a life changing year for them.

Everyone is sure they're gunna' end up
thinner, sexier, smarter, richer, more organized and nicer than last year.

We all know the truth.

Same 'ol, same 'ol.

SO, since I occasionally cave-in to peer pressure,
especially blogging peer pressure and
the "you have to build a platform to be a writer" pressure,
 I decided to git me some of those

1.  I Resolve to Eat More
I know you might hate me already, if you resolved to eat less.
Sometimes, I skip breakfast.
I know, shame on me, right?
Wouldn't let the kids get away with that.
Sometimes, I skip lunch.
I can see your lecture finger pointing at me already.
Sometimes, I skip breakfast and lunch.
Eating can be a waste of time, all that chewing and swallowing.
Remember, I'm the girl who wants the Wonka Gum?
I will still always have chocolate hidden in my desk drawer,
but I will try to eat more meals,
or at least not skip two in the same day.

2.  I Resolve to Cook More
I'm not really a foodie.
I like to go out to eat,
but I don't drool in the afternoon about some delicious meal
I'm gunna' concoct for dinner.
I don't read cookbooks.
I only subscribe to two food blogs because they're friends
and I've only copied one recipe from a blog.
There's been plenty of good intentions,
but not a lot of follow-through.
As I say each year,
I'm gunna' really try to cook some good food this year.

3.  I Resolve to Shop More
I don't like shopping, except at thrift stores and garage sales.
Grocery shopping is OK, but the rising prices are making me crazy.
But, clothes shopping?  I despise it.
I guess those circus mirrors and bright lights in the dressing rooms
frustrate me.
Sizes are smaller than they used to be and
fabrics are lighter than they used to be.
While waistlines and necklines go lower,
prices go higher.

I usually have only one good pair of jeans at a time,
and a few good shirts.
Ya' know, the kind you actually want to wear in public?
While other women were dieting from shopping in 2010,
I made myself buy new clothes.
Those new clothes are no longer new.
I need to go a week in each season without doing laundry.
I hafta' shop.
I just hafta'.

4.  I Resolve to Drink More
Yea, I nag my kids all the time about drinking water,
like any good parent.
The lecture my Dad gave me is pretty much memorized,
but I have to adapt it a bit.
We grew up in Montana, so Dad would always add,
"We live in a place that's almost a desert, ya' know."
Of course, Washington is more like the tropical rain forest
in a children's museum, but we all still need to drink more water.
I don't like to drink water 'cuz then I have to tinkle.
I'm using that word because I have delicate sensibilities and so do you.
Going tinkle takes time.
It also takes toilet paper.
I don't have a lot of both, living in this house with ten other people.
Ten other people who aren't skilled enough to change the tp roll.

So, ya' happy now?
I resolved some resolutions.

Happy New Year!

I am truly blessed and humbled that you would
use your valuable time to ready my blog.

I am blessed and humbled that you would take time to comment.

I'm even more blessed and humbled that many of you,
strangers in physical life but bloggy friends,
have prayed and inspired me through one of the hardest years of my life.

All joking aside,
I truly love and appreciate all of you.

And may this be the way you find happiness in your new year:

Proverbs 3:13
"Happy is the man who finds wisdom,

And the man who gains understanding."

Friday, December 30, 2011

What I Really Wanted for Christmas

As always, my hubby and kids spoiled me with Christmas presents.

My kids are better shoppers than I am
and have this great ability to buy me wonderful things
I didn't know I needed,
and now suddenly I can't live without.
They keep me in style, up-to-date, primped, pampered and smellin' good.

They rose up and blessed me, all righty.

 I even received two stockings full of goodies.
My dear Bethany was worried Pops would forget,
as he has occasionally in the past,
you didn't hear that from me.

I might sound like an unthankful brat,
but as I thought about Christmas,
I had to admit there were some things I didn't get.

Things I really, really want.

Things I really, really need.

Things I feel like demanding by stomping my feet and raising my voice.
If it works for kids, (not MY kids, though)
 it should work for me, right?
Anyway, I kinda' think I deserve these gifts,
and they would make my life
much easier.

After all, life is going to be pretty tough
trying to eat up all the chocolate I was given this Christmas.

I decided to publically display my
 2012 Christmas Wish List
just in case anybody in my family wants to start shopping now.

What I Really Wanted for Christmas

*Self-Cleaning Fridge
Must also automatically disintegrate leftovers past their prime.

*Automatic-Flush Toilets
Should waft the scent of your choice into the air,
offering an array of scents, like rose, lavender, lilac, cedar and pine.
  Any smell except what you usually smell in a bathroom
would be acceptable.

*Boomerang Pens
Will be programmed to automatically return to the site
they were confiscated from.

that never loses it flavor and is invisible to kids' eyes.

*Socks and Earrings
that mate for life.

that remember what page I'm on.

*A Chocolate Bar
that always has one more bite.

*A Roll of Toilet Paper
that always has enough for one more wipe,
especially when I'm the next person in the bathroom.

*Runless Nylons

*A Bottomless Cup of Coffee

*A Bottomless Tank of Gas

*Stealth Scissors
unseen to the eyes of the enemy children.

*A Hand-held Lie Detector Test
Should be able to program in an unlimited number of people
 without prior consent. Should read minds clearly even though
cleverly hidden in a shirt pocket or purse.
Can not be used on Parental Units.

*Vehicular Motion Sensors
Will sound alarm when one offspring has unvaded
another offsrping's  territory.
Could also be mounted above bedroom doors.

*Voice Recognition Software
Will quickly interpret needs of child based on pitch, tone, and inflections
and coordinate answer with current bank account balance
and/or Mom's current mood.

So, not to be selfish or anything,
but family,
are you out there?

Are ya' reading my blog?

How 'bout gettin' on that shopping list?

Afterall, you have 361 shopping  days  to buy me

What I Really Wanted for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Parenting Like Joseph

Joseph was chosen to be the earthly father
of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The child wasn't really his,
in the sense of flesh and blood.
He was only raising the child to fulfill His purpose on earth.
Then the Child would return to His true Father,
His Heavenly Father.

Joseph isn't the exception in parenting,
he's the rule.

Whether we're raising children we birthed
or children birthed in hearts through adoption,
we should have the same mindset.
These children really aren't ours,
they belong to the Heavenly Father.

Our goal in parenting
should be to point our children to Him,
so that they can live with Him eternally.

Jesus already belonged in Heaven,
our children have to make that choice to belong themselves,
by placing their faith in the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness
of their sins.

In our Sunday School program, our little Joseph took his party very seriously.
His eyes rarely strayed from the swaddled baby doll in the manger.

May we parents be like this young man,
who stayed by that manger,
diligently watching the child
who was under his loving care

Friday, December 23, 2011

Angel We Heard On High

Every child wants to be the angel in the Christmas play.

The wings and halo are just so enticing.

So, when you are the only girl in the Sunday School class
 your mom writes the play,
being chosen for the coveted role is a done deal.

I realized tradition and Scripture don't always mesh.
The angel in Christmas programs has always been a girl.

Then, my wise  daughter asked me,
"Mom, is Gabriel a girl's name?"

I'm thinking to myself,
"Duh, it's a boy name."

So I smartly replied that Gabriel is a boys name for humans,
but our angel was a girl.

What's a mother to do?

Because we wanted to go for a dramatic entrance,
and we didn't have those wires that made Peter Pan fly,
we settled for hiding the angel behind the piano when the adults
were downstairs snacking on Christmas cookies and coffee.

Just as the shepherds were surprised,
so was the audience.

The beautiful blonde angel popped from behind the piano,
the talented piano player shared her bright light for a moment
and the angel shone with glory while proclaiming,

"Fear not!
For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

We actually heard a few gasps from the crowd, so we were delighted.
Audience reaction is so rewarding, isn't it?

"Angel we have heard on high
sweetly singing o'er the stage."

This beautiful dress was sewn by a friend, Marilyn,
when her daughter was in a wedding years ago.
It's hung in our closet waiting for Rebekah to grow into it.

It was the perfect angel costume.

After spending the Saturday before the play
sewing the other five costumes, I was beat.
But, I still didn't have angel wings.

Scott and I drove to a party store
hoping to find a ready made pair.
It was closed.

We had about 20 minutes before Michael's closed,
so ran through the aisles looking for something that
could quickly and easily be turned into wings.

Super large white chenille stems were found on the clearance aisle.
A few twists, a few twist ties to hold the twists in place,
 a few knots in skinny elastic,
and angel wings were born.

"Good tidings of great joy."


I'll be honest, not feeling a lot of joy today.

I'm thinking of all I need to do,
all I will never get done,
and how to pull it all together in less than 48 hours.

All I really wanna' do is sit in my pj's and drink coffee.

We've been given good tidings that should bring us great joy.

Not just joy,
great joy.

If there's no joy,
that's our fault,
not heaven's.

He already provided all we need in a manger.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Wise Shepherd, The Brave Shepherd and the Fearful Shepherd

This year I wrote a short Christmas play for the kids in our Sunday school.

It had to be short, we only have six students.

Casting was easy, with three boys as shepherds,
one  big girl as the angel,
one tiny girl as Mary  and one tiny boy as Joseph.

I also made it easy by writing lines appropriate for their personalities.

We rehearsed, but I concentrated on making them remember
the general idea of the line, not expecting word perfect recitation.
If a line was too confusing, I made it shorter.
If they didn't understand it, I changed it.
It had to be easy for them to become the characters.

No Sunday school kid was going to get an ulcer on my watch.

Remember how nervous you were when you performed in the Christmas
program in front of the whole congregation?

I wanted them to have fun and enjoy their first performance.

The Wise Shepherd is instructing his younger helpers on caring for the flock.

He warns them about trouble within the flock;
if a mother abandoned her baby they would have to
 become the mommy to the lamb.

He warns them about trouble outside the flock
and the need to guard against lions and bears.

The Brave Shepherd isn't afraid of anything.

He has a sling just like David.

The Fearful Shepherd, the youngest of the group,  was afraid of everything...

...lions and bears,
the Caananites in Bethlehem,
  sin and the Messiah.
After being informed
"the soul that sinneth it shall die"
 he was afraid of dying.

The Wise Shepherd assures him that he doesn't need to be
afraid of dying from his sin, 
because the Messiah is coming to save
people from their sin.

When the angel appeared, they were all afraid.

The Fearful Shepherd taunted the Wise Shepherd
for trembling in fear.

After hearing the angel's proclamation,
the Wise Shepherd commanded them to follow him to Bethlehem.

Under protest and confusion,
"You told us to never leave the sheep!"

"Should I bring my slingshot?"

they followed the older, wiser shepherd.

They all worshipped.

Then they rushed out and told the entire congregation about the newborn King.

As the shepherds called the people to come and worship,
 we closed by singing,
"O Come All Ye Faithful."

I was thrilled with the students.
They all remembered their lines,
nearly word perfect,
 were loud enough to be heard,
and caused the older people to laugh, worship and adore.

It was especially gratifying to hear the first words
out of the kids' mouths after the performance~
"Can we have another play?"

While the thrill of succeeding warms their little hearts,
I'm still thinking about their call to worship.

O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ponder in Your Heart

Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things,

and pondered them in her heart.

Without any practice, our little Mary
performed beautifully at our Christmas program on Sunday.

Her thoughtful watch over Baby Jesus was delightful,
and occasionally she would reach down and pat the baby's head.

I kept thinking about this verse in Luke as I watched her.

How amazed Mary must have been to be chosen to carry
the Christ child. 

When she heard the shepherds repeating the angel's proclamation
about her Son, she stored them up in her heart.

What a great example we have in Mary.

She first lived out her youth in such faithful devotion
she was chosen for a great service to the Lord.

She fulfilled her duty as the earthly mother to the Lord Jesus,
despite much personal pain as she watched Him
 rejected, scourged and crucified.

She only had words
the Lord Jesus.

We have Words
the Lord Jesus,
the entire inspired New Testament.

Like Mary,
we need to keep things about Jesus,
truths from His Holy Word,
and ponder them in our hearts,
not just during the holiday season.

Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things,
and pondered them in her heart.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who Cut the Cheese?

Growing up with three brothers,
disgusting body noises and smells were the bane
of my daily existence.

was their motto.

came into vogue,
they punctuated this new battle cry with rude armpit noises.

It was a harsh childhood, I tell ya'.

My Gramma Geneva
used the slang of her times to join  in our giggles and slang.

When somebody emitted a rude noise from the lower region
of their body, especially if it was accompanied by
a milk-curdling odor,
Gramma would holler out with (wit) a thick (tick) Norwegian (Norvegian) accent,
(Hoo cut du musTURD)
Then, she'd smile with the same smirk my brothers used
when they'd annihilated the air purity with a SBD.
(For those of you not privileged enough to grow up with
three flatulenting brothers, it means

Notice how I'm not using the actual word you're thinking of?
Yea, when my husband was teaching in a private Christian
school he was reprimanded by the trying-not-to-laugh principal
for using a bad word  in the classroom.

Apparently, a parent had called in because in some homes
is a naughty word.
I wonder if they think a FART by any other name
would smell sweeter?
In case you are one who agrees with that philosophy,
I'll elevate my diction and avoid further mention
of that dreadful word.

Back to Gramma's mustard.
I couldn't begin to imagine where her saying came from,
until I heard this song as an older teenager.

I grew up, married and was blessed with six cheese-cutting kids of my own.

Now, I'm the one cutting the cheese.


During the holidays there is a constant ebb and flow of activities,
 festivities, responsibilities and company.

Sometimes, coming up with a last minute meal or snack can be challenging.

A few years ago I discovered having cheese cut up and ready
makes sandwiches and cracker trays easy to create.

The cheese is layered with waxed paper and the bag labeled.
My other favorite flavors to keep on hand are
dill havarti and smoked gouda.

You haven't had dill havarti?
It's my favorite.
If you love cheese and you love pickles,
you will love dill havarti!

It'll be your new favorite cheese, I promise.

A piece of cardstock underneath sturdied up the package.
Two sizes were made, cracker and sandwich.


I'm expecting more company this week
and I need to prove I'm not too old to

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unique Use for a Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree has many cherished functions during the holiday season.

The lights add a shimmering glow to the room,
matching the expectation of the celebration ahead.

Underneath the tree, presents chosen with love are nestled beneath
the pine scented boughs.

Ornaments rich with memories hang from the branches,
marking Christmases past,
but leaving room for future memories.

The scent, the sights, the feel of a Christmas tree
are deeply etched into our hearts and minds.

My kids added one more cherished function for our Christmas
tree this week.

They simply continue to amaze me.

Remind me to not ask the kids to
"quickly pick up the living room"
during the season of the tree.

Remind me not to ask
when I'm not in the room and
don't specify
to pick up the living room.

My Amazing Grace decided each branch worked like a shelf.

The living room was very quickly picked up.

I walked in,  rolled my eyes,
grunted in a motherly fashion,
and demanded someone get a picture
while I went down to do yet another load of laundry.

Not sure what happened when I was in the basement,

but the pictures on the camera
told a story their lips didn't.

But, it musta' been funny.

See what a Mom misses when she's always working?

Many years ago, some dear friends of mine shared their
convictions on why they don't have a Christmas tree.
It was a pleasant conversation,
but all I remember is something about
 German soldiers hanging guts on a tree.
Maybe I wasn't listening very well.

Anyway, we made our decision to have a tree
based on American tradition,
not our faith. 
We understand the tree really doesn't have anything to do
with the Lord Jesus.
But we found a way to let our
love for the American traditions
and our love for the Lord Jesus
live together in our home.

And our dear friends don't know what they're missing.

Not only are they missing that wonderful pine scent,
their kids can't clean up the living room in less than 5 minutes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lights, Camera, Decorating Action

I won't be putting on the magazine Christmas this year.
It just ain't gunna' happen.

But, I plan on enjoying the family,
eating a few sweets that will for sure give me a tummy ache,
sipping a LOT of coffee,
and enjoying my
very, very, very full house.
We'll be blessed with a lot of family celebrating with us.

One of my main objectives when decorating
is to create atmosphere.

What better way than to use lights?

These vintage bells were an after-Christmas find this year
and look great along the  top of my buffet.
I was thrilled to discover they blink,
right, left, together, right, left, together, right, left, together.

Do you sit and stare like a cat at lights sometimes?
Yea, me, too.

They're mesmerizing.

In a corner vintage candleabra and plastic greenery.
Ya' know the plastic is so tacky, it's cute.
Kinda' like my elves.

It's washable, not fragile, and can be squished in a box.

I know you're all gunna' be looking for ugly plastic garland
at the thrift stores tomorrow.

At night, it lights up the corner of the dining room.
Remember my decorating has to be fast and furious this year?
Lights set the atmosphere quickly and beauifully.

A bubble-light night light makes even the hallway festive.

Another vintage find last year, a star for the top of the tree.

Y'all think you know where I'm going with the lights.

Yea, yer' right.

John 8:12
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“I am the
light of the world.
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life.”

But, instead of just saying to yerself,
"ya', real original anaology, Momma Mindy,"
I want you to meditate on this for a moment.

Meditate comes from the same root as ruminate.

Ruminate is to chew the cud, like a cow.

If you think about a cow
chewing and
chewing and
chewing and
chewing and
you'd agree that we really don't
meditate on the Scriptures.
We're too busy.
We're too preoccupied.
Two or three chews, gulp it down, and we're done.

We wouldn't make very good cows, would we?

So as you chew on this thought,
of Jesus being the light of the world,
think more personally.
How can He be the light of your world?

When/why do you need light?
~when you're afraid
~ to see where you're going
~ to work
~ to read
~to guide someone through the dark
~to look for something that's lost

These are a few of the many instances during the day when you need to
turn on a lamp, use a flashlight, or turn the lights on your car.
These are almost the same instances when you need the
light of Jesus.

Make turning to Him,
through His Word and prayer,
as natural as it is to flip a light switch.

Remember that atmosphere we were talkin' about earlier?

That's what we want all year 'round.
A home filled with

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fast and Furious Christmas Decorating

This year I was so busy cleaning my garage,
I didn't really have time to decorate for Christmas.

Ya' know, we all have years like that.
Some years we're Martha Stewart on steroids,
other years we're the Red Neck Mommas
who just do enough to Git 'Er Dun.

This year I dun did the Red Neck Thing.

It was the hubby's year to decorate the tree.
We'll talk about that later.
He got that done a few days after Thanksgiving.

I like to decorate a lot.
Meaning, I like it a lot and I use a lot of decorations.
Since I didn't get the Christmas decorations back up into the attic
until this summer, I'm lame I know,
I didn't feel like hauling them all down a few months later.

This year, I gave myself permission to

I took down the box of vintage decorations,
my faves, of course,
and starting throwing elves around.

I wasn't furious, but it had to be done fast.

This ladder rests against the wall in the dining room.
Usually, I would replace all the vintage fabrics
with vintage Christmas linens.

Not this year.

This year it was more about just adding a few decorations
to areas of the house that already displayed vintage items.

Usually the doll on the top of the ladder sits on top of the tree.

Not this year.

My kids make fun of her, and I don't know why.

She's so ugly, she's cute.
Who needs that traditional star or angel?

This little guy is using my pastry mixer for a swing.

The heavily bearded elf tucks his arthritic knees into my flour sifter.

The coffee pot at the bottom of the ladder
is now home to a mouse.
The only kinda' mouse I want in my house.

When you can't do everything you wanna' do
and still keep the calm and happy attitude,
something has to go.

This year, the decorating had to go,
the happy attitude stayed.

The Lord tells us to be a cheerful giver.
We shouldn't give so much we resent giving,
nor should we give so little we feel guilty.

I think this is a great principle for many things we do.

This year I'm not doing so much I resent the holidays
and all the demands it puts on Mom,
(or all the demands I put on myself)
nor am I doing so little I feel guilty.

 I need to accomplish each holiday endeavor
fast and furiously,
without getting furious.

Gotta keep that holiday cheer!

Acts 27:25
Be of good cheer:
for I believe God...


Monday, December 12, 2011

Where Do Dreams Go To Die?

The garage.
It's the dumping grounds for anything that doesn't fit in the house.
So much stuff has been fit in the garage, the cars don't.

For months, I've been cleaning the garage,
tossing, sorting, recycling, and organizing.

As I hold each item in my hands,
I ask if  emotionally I need it,
if  physically  I need it,
 and if  financially I can afford  to replace it if need be.

The obvious fact is  that I save too much stuff.
The inobvious fact is that
I'd been saving some things
for dreams that would never come true.

They were good dreams,
they were God-honoring dreams,
but they were dreams I had to allow to die.
Some dreams had to do with ministries I desired.
Some dreams had to do with plans I had for my kids.

From the time we are very young,
we're fed dream fodder,
"If you can dream it, you can achieve it."
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

Dreaming isn't wrong, it's necessary.

Christians know it isn't only our courage, strength and ambition
that makes our dreams come true.
The power comes from the One who had enough power
to raise from the dead.

As I filled box after box to take to the thrift store,
parting with both hoarded junk and the stuff my dreams were made of,
I wasn't bitter and  I wasn't angry.
I just had to face the facts.
It was time for me to deal with these dreams as David did.

David desired to build a temple,
a beautiful monument to honor the Lord,
a place of corporate worship.
Although he had the best intentions and desires,
it  wasn't the Lord's plan for David's life.
David had to let his dream die.
The death of a dream isn't always a bad thing.

For the past few weeks,
as I've cried a few tears and been honest before the Lord
about the death of some of my dreams,
this thought was continually in my mind,
"Where do dreams go to die?"

As I pondered this thought over and over,
the Lord gave me a picture of the cross.

Along with everything else we give to the Lord,
our time, money and talents,
dreams are to be offered at the foot of the cross.

We're pleased to offer all to Jesus,
so He can do all He pleases with our offerings.

It isn't a death of gory agony,
it's a death of self, a surrender of dreams.

One day I sat down to rest and read this book to my kids.

Three trees have amazing dreams for their futures.
All three are chosen, cut down and used,
but none of their dreams came true.

This line expressed the state of my heart
so perfectly, I wept.
"Many, many days and nights passed.
The three trees nearly forgot their dreams."

The end renewed my heart with hope.
Each of the trees  was used in a way greater than they'd dreamed.
(One became a manger, one a  fishing boat, and one became the Cross.)

I haven't buried my dreams in a graveyard of depression and futility,
I've buried them in the fertile soil at the foot of the cross, because
That's Where Dreams  Go to Die.

Like the trees,
I'll wait and see how the Lord plans to use me.