Sunday, September 29, 2013

Serenity Challenge

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 

 
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

I did not realize there was  more to the "Serenity Prayer" than the first paragraph.  I really like the second part.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time...  That is the key to not only surviving, but thriving in a world where very little is under "our" control.  It's true, we must walk by faith, trusting that all things WILL work together for good.  Romans 8:26-39 is the lifeline that gets us through even the most impossible of situations.

 BUT!

 But, just as there are many things that are beyond our control, are of God's Providence and we just can't change them, there are also many other things that we can change.  We need the courage to change the things we can.  God doesn't expect us to drag our little martyred selves through life feeling all pathetic and ill used.  He is not glorified when we stoically "suffer in silence" for something that is utterly unnecessary.  He has called us to life and that more abundantly!  We are called to rejoice evermore!  We are admonished to take care of ourselves, being mindful that we are not our own, but are the temples of God.  

So, what can we change?

To begin with, we CANNOT change others.  Don't even try it.  I tried and it never has turned out well.  It's God's job, not mine.

I can take steps to change myself.  And yes, it takes the Holy Spirit working in my life to bring about change, but that doesn't mean I'm off the hook.  We are reminded to put off the deeds of the flesh, put on the armor of God, stir up the gifts within us and quench not the Spirit.  The are things that I can do to positively change my attitude and atmosphere.  And it's nothing big or earth shattering.  What it comes down to is being aware and thankful of the simple gifts all around us.  Here is how this post came into being:

Last week was really busy.  I am so glad I could go spend time with my grandparents.  It was exactly where I needed to be.  I traveled home Thursday afternoon, arriving around 4:45.  It would have been a good day to call in pizza for dinner.  But, there was raw chicken sitting in a brine in the fridge that HAD to be cooked that night or else it would spoil.  Which means a fried chicken dinner.  Fried chicken and I do not get along...  I don't like eating it, and I loathe cooking it.  Usually, I wind up in tears.  Yes, over chicken.  Even when I'm not pregnant.  Now you know my deep, dark secret.  Fried chicken is my husband's favorite meal.  And you would think, being the lovely, gracious, servant that I am (hyperbole)  that I would be so glad for an opportunity to bless my husband with some Southern Fried love.  After all, when we were courting I was ready to conquer burning deserts, crocodile infested rivers and registry shopping just for him.  Of course I love him enough to fix a piddly dinner without it becoming the Charge of the Light Brigade.

I guess not.

Anyways, this was a circumstance I really couldn't get out of.  Not with a clear conscience at least.  As I drug myself to the kitchen I started talking to myself.  Wait!  Don't call the psychiatric ward on me yet!  That is actually a good thing.  We should talk sense to ourselves more often.  David did. (Psalm 42)  And I started discussing with myself what sort of steps I can take in my every day stressful situations to bring peace and serenity to my heart and, by extension, my home.  I grabbed a pen and notebook and jotted a few things down in between grease splatters.  Just thinking of things that make me happy and are within my reach had it's effect.  My heart rate slowed, I stopped thinking of reasons why frying chicken on a Thursday when I'm so tired is ridiculous.  I no longer wanted to hit Robert.  I even noted with pleasure the golden skin and amazing aroma.  When Robert came through the door the look of surprise and adoration on his face was more than worth it.  Did the threatened tears ever materialize?  I would be lying if I denied it.  I did not escape the night without a meltdown.  It was the clean up that got me.  And guess what?  I was expecting and demanding what I thought I "deserved" from my husband and children.  When I didn't get my way immediately, I threw a fit.  I should have read my notes and taken my own advice.

I know in the grand scheme of things that this was really a minor inconvenience.  Major, life shattering things happen.  We are stuck with poor health or poverty or a really annoying person.  There is no end to the trials and tribulations that we all face.  But, there is always something we can be thankful for.  We can always turn to God, our very present help in trouble.  There are small changes that can make a big difference.

Here's my Serenity Challenge list:

1. Spend 5 minutes alone with God.  "...We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8-9  When you feel like the stuffin' is being squeezed out of you, run to your Father.  Maybe that is the whole point, to get you to realize that you are not sufficient in yourself, your sufficiency is of God. 2 Cor. 3:5

2. Turn on some music

3. Light a candle

4. Eat an apple (it just feels healthy!)

5. Drink tea with honey (again, it's the pampering, I'm taking care of myself feeling.  Dr Pepper and Pringles gives me an I hate myself feeling)

6. Take a short walk around the block or to the end of the sidewalk or whatever. 3 minutes ought to do it.

7. Attack whatever it is I am feeling guilt over neglecting.  It could be a Thank You note, bills, overflowing counter top, sink of dishes.  You know what's bugging you with guilt.  Set your timer and take care of it.

8. Send the kids outside for 15 minutes.  It won't kill them.  Lock the door...

9. Send yourself outside and play with the kids.  It won't kill you either.

10. Give yourself permission to read whatever you like for 10 minutes.

11. Take a hot bath

12. Let the kids play in the tub, just for fun.  No soap necessary

13. Hide the computer in the closet.

14. Practice the piano

15.  Pull weeds

16. Vacuum ( I love seeing the offending crud disappear under my vacuum with a satisfying crunch!)

17. Dust with Orange Glo (just one piece of furniture makes me feel good and the room smells peaceful)

18. Change out of frumpy clothes, fix my hair and makeup, wear tennis shoes.  It's amazing how that can turn around a bad day!

19. Look up the words to the hymn bouncing around in your mind all day.  Sing it.  Out loud!  Print off the words and post in the kitchen to sing while cooking and doing dishes.

20. Redirect your thoughts to what is true and lovely and praiseworthy

21.  Grab an unsuspecting partner and break into a random dance.

Don't try to do all this at once!  Just try a few and see if things don't look a little brighter.'

Here's your challenge: Write down three things of your own that might change the atmosphere for you.  Post it in the comment section if you like (or text me if you have my number, hehehe) Then try doing it!

Happy Sunday, y'all!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

#you might be a perfectionist if:

You make your to-do list after the day is over...just so you can check off everything on the list!

You put off writing Thank You notes and blog posts because you can't find the right words.

You're too tired to brush your teeth and too finicky to go to bed without brushing your teeth, so you lurk on facebook for a few more hours.

You agonize over a pithy closing statement before realizing that 10 minutes of your life are irretrievably lost.  You wish to return to bed and suck your thumb.

For a cure to perfectionism, check out flylady.net  Instead of climbing into bed, I'm setting my timer!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Potato What?

Last night I was craving potato rolls SO. BADLY.  I needed potato rolls.  When you have crockpot pork roast with apples, carrots and onions in gravy over brown rice, there have to be potato rolls nestled right next to them on the plate, with a glacier of butter melting in creamy rivulets down the side...

So, I began mixing the dough as soon as I got home from my errands.  I was hoping it wouldn't take too long, since I was getting a late start.

First, I creamed the 2/3 c. sugar with the 2/3 c. shortening (butter flavored, if you must know)
I then added 1 cup of mashed potatoes (frozen in a ziplock bag for just such an occasion), 2 tsp salt, and 2 eggs.

Next, I warmed 1 1/3 cups of water in preparation for the addition of 2 packages of yeast.  I use the jars of yeast, so I know 2 pkgs equal 4 1/2 tsp.  There's just one problem.  I don't have but maybe half a teaspoon in the bottom of the jar.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

I frantically rip through the panty hoping, nay praying that I had bought a new jar of yeast on my last trip to the store.  I could almost remember putting it on my list, searching the aisles and lovingly placing that amber colored jar in my cart.

I must have just dreamed that I did it.

Evidently I was praying out loud, "Please let there be some yeast in here somewhere."  Cy thought that was hilarious since he was coincidentally listening to a Lyrical Life Science song about fungi.  Homeschoolers are such dorks...

But, in answer to my prayer, inspiration struck.  For what should fall under my panic stricken gaze but a can of double action baking powder!

Could I?  Dare I?  Has anyone ever made rolls into muffins before?

I sprinted to my trusty search engine.  A cursory glance revealed that no one in the top ten google search had anything helpful to add. But I did learn the appropriate ratio of baking powder to flour for muffins.

So, here's what I did: Instead of water and yeast, I added 7 1/2 tsp (that's 2 Tbs+1 1/2 tsp) baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 1/3 cups genuine sour milk (Kum and Go lied about the expiration date).  Finally I stirred in 6 cups of flour to make a thick batter.  There was just enough to fill 2 large (greased) muffin pans, 24 muffins in all.

25 minutes at 375 degrees later, voila!  Soft, sweet, moist, potato muffins with glaciers of butter melting into creamy rivulets down the side.  And I didn't even "knead" to let it rise!  ;-)


 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rafting!

Here is another link with pictures of our "whitewater" rafting trip down the Kenai River

trekingalaska

I finally got my hands on our luggage, so now we have Elle's car seat, so now I can go to the store for badly needed provisions, so now I really need to get off the computer and make a grocery list.  Yeah, it's going to be that kind of day...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Homeward Bound

We're baaack!

We had a fantastic time with my Kimball cousins, Cary, Lydia, Victoria, Isaac, Rebekah and Jacob.  Victoria is an amazing photographer and has a very entertaining post about the past week over at Sister's Point Of View .

I hope to put some of our own pictures up in the near future, but first I need to figure out how to work the camera.  After a solid 24 hours in airports and planes with 4 frantically exhausted children, my brain hurts...

Most flights to and from Alaska aren't that traumatic.  Because of my husband's job, we were flying standby.  That in itself is a grand adventure, let me tell you.

We got up Sunday morning, dressed, packed, ate and headed out to church. Landmark Baptist Church of Anchorage has lunch in between their two services.  Afterwards we ran a few errands with the cousins.  Then they dropped us off at the airport.  American Airlines only has one flight out per day, around 9 pm.  It was packed.  We tried to "zed" out on Alaska Air.  That flight was sold out as well.  We did make the 12:30 am flight, though.  3 hours later brought us to Seattle.  I learned some important tips there:

 *If you need a place to crash in Seattle's airport, the children's play room has nice, cushioned benches.  And at 4:30 in the morning, it is virtually bereft of screaming children, so you'll need to bring your own.
* Starbucks coffee is better than Seattle's Best.  I highly recommend the french toast bagel with an inch of cream cheese in the middle.  It keeps the kids lips stuck together for awhile...

Next stop, Dallas.  The 7:30 flight was booked up.  But, the 9 am flight had room for two.  Alvin and I took that one, with Elle in my lap.  Robert and the older boys waited two more hours with the hope they might(!) make the next one.

Once in Dallas I had just enough time to beg seats on the next flight to Tulsa and put Rob on the waiting list for the flight after that.  Than we grabbed some Micky D's to scarf before boarding.

Tulsa Time at last!  We landed around 5:15.  Robert sent word that they were on the next plane, arriving at 7:40.  Just a few more hours to kill.  I pulled out the video camera and watched the videos that Robert had taken throughout the week.  The rafting video just about made me seasick.  Finally, it was time for Robert to land.  We found the perfect vantage point to watch the plane land, taxi and get connected with the gate.  Ahh!  Sweet reunion!  We all drug ourselves into Taco Bell. (I had cleaned out the fridge before we left.)  We made it home about 10 o'clock last night.  I looked like the model for the Ghillie Suit (Sister's Point of View) wearing a skirt. 

Our luggage has yet to arrive, so I need to go scare up some toothbrushes before we head out to the dentist.

In the meantime, go check out Vikki's blog.  You'll be glad you did :-)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

I am enjoying an Alaskan September with the august company of my cousins!

My cousin, Vickie is a fellow Kipling fan, so this poem is for her.


The Gods of the Copybook Headings
                         Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!