Tuesday, April 29, 2008

AI, Not So Live

Why not so live? Because we are on Mountain Time, so Idol come on at 7Pm. That is smack in the middle of "Bathe and get kids ready for bed" time. So we are DVR watching.

Tonight, Neil Diamond. Mike says he has no clue who Neil Diamond is. This is my husband who only knows two kinds of music: Country and Western! Okay, he also knows Petra and Russ Taff. But that's it. For the intro, they play some of Diamond's songs and now Mike knows who he is.

BTW, I remember watching the Monkeys! Fun memories!

Two songs, wow, I don't remember that.

First song:

Jason Castro: I really like him, but I have a hard time picturing him as the next pop star. And the dreds...I have a hard time thinking they are totally clean. Sorry, it should really be about the music. Good, but not spectacular.

David Cook: I like that he turned the song around on Ryan. So scripted. Neil got goosebumps. He's definitely the rocker. Not my taste, but I do love that he seems to have a maturity and well-roundedness (if that is a word) that some of the others are lacking.

(side note, I'm glad Carly is not here anymore so I don't have to see the cut to her husband. He scared me!)

Brooke White: She looks a little goofy with the outfit and guitar. It bugs me that she's saying "your" instead of "her". It's just all the years of the Monkeys running through my head!

David Archuleta: I think his voice is amazing, but he lacks a little personality. I like this song for him. I always liked Sweet Caroline. No matter what happens, I imagine Disney will snap this kid up!

Syesha Mercado: She is so beautiful, but I really like her hair curly. I loved that Neil asked her for a hug unlike where Brooke asked him for a hug. Why has FOX not heard us about the hand waving? It is so annoying! I love her voice! She give ME goosebumps (or maybe that's the ice I'm chewing!)

Judges: They just can't comment quickly, can they? Did Paula really think he sang twice? She is really on something! You know, I don't think Simon is the nicest person, but I usually agree with him.

Second Song:

Jason Castro: I really want to like him, but this was just boring! He even looks bored. Mike thinks he is amazing, but remember the country and western thing? Even Randy thinks it's just okay. Safe, do I really think Paula made a good comment. Maybe Simon is right that this is just not the Jason that started.

David Cook: I really think he is becoming the front-runner. I really think his voice is unique and I like how he changes-up his songs. I'll say it again, he really has personality. This sounds like something I would hear on the radio, but tonight I might change the station. Maybe I'm just not focused, but it didn't "keep my attention". Randy obviously liked it though. I hate how when they cut to Paula she never looks like she is wearing a shirt at all. Okay, so I agree with the current comment, just not the music I would listen to.

Brooke White: I hate that she talks back to the judges! Having her lyrics on her hand - you are kidding, right? I'm glad she changed these words to AZ instead of NY. She looks much more comfortable behind the piano instead of the guitar. Much better vocals. She sounds so weird when she thanks the judges - almost condescending. This was definitely better than the first song. Karaoke bar is right.

David Archuleta: Oops, was that a squeak??? I am glad that he didn't just sing two ballads. If those teeny boppers keep calling in, he'll keep going. He definitely showed more personality this week. He might need a few dancing lessons, though. He dances like me. Loved the last note! Randy, "alls" is not a word!!! He is so cute, but always looks uncomfortable standing next to Ryan. Why is Ryan there again?

Syesha Mercado: She always has fun singing. I think her voice is amazing! But why is she shoeless again? Simon thinks she is in trouble. Could he have said that to get her followers to vote? I hope so, I still like her. I'd rather see Jason or Brooke go before her.

I think based on fan base, we might actually see a David face off for the final two. But that's my non-singing knowledgeable self.

Mike's favorite: David Cook Who he thinks should go home: Brooke White. I agree.

He's Not 20 Anymore

On Sunday afternoon, my husband, feeling the need for some exercise, went to play softball. He was going to play with a group of guys that he had never met before. What a great opportunity to meet new people and maybe interest a few in coming to church. He hasn’t really played softball in several years, although after golf it is one of his favorites. His first at bat he hit a double, but because he is male and thinks he is still in his twenties, he tried to stretch it into a triple. As he rounded second he heard and felt a pop. That pop was his hamstring. He limped his way home to some Advil and ice. A couple of hours later with Tylenol added to the system he was still in A LOT of pain. Seeking some stronger drugs (yes I just called my husband “drug seeking” – it goes along with the “sexual predator training” that he attended last month!), we headed to the ER. Thanks to Mom who came down to stay with the kids, it was just Mike and I – kind of like a date, only not.

They checked him over, took some x-rays, and declared his hamstring torn. They gave him drugs (a morphine shot and some percocet), a pair of crutches, and told him to go home and rest. The whole thing took less than two hours. Except that as we were leaving the triage room, Mike started to not feel so good. I quickly stuck the wheelchair underneath him as he started to slump down. The nurse came over, and wheeled him back into the room, gave him a bucket, and a cool wash cloth and tried to find a pulse. Yes I said tried. He couldn’t seem to get one, and Mike was starting to lose consciousness. Two other nurses came running in and they lifted him onto the bed, gave him oxygen, stuck an IV in (speaking of which if I ever need an IV I want them to do it – it took less than 30 sec. When I was giving birth to Morgan it took four tries and almost 30 min!), and started rubbing his chest telling him to “stay with us”! It was like a scene out of ER only this was my husband!!! His pulse actually dropped to 26 beats/min! It’s suppose to be close to 100! They elevated his feet to my nose height, and his head by my knees. While the whole scene was very scary, they said it was normal. (I don’t know how they can call that normal!) Apparently, since the pain was so intense and his blood pressure was low, when he stood up the blood all rushed to his feet and legs and his pressure wasn’t high enough to pump it back up to his heart and head. Thus the reason for the elevated feet. As for that normal thing, apparently it often happens to little old ladies. I tried telling him he wasn’t in his 20s anymore – this just confirms that! He was also a bit dehydrated, and that didn’t help matters.

Needless to say, after three hours, they declared him fit to leave again. We managed to get home at 3am, and after getting everything settled, I crawled into bed at 3:45 still with some emotional adrenaline from all the “excitement”. As I had sat there watching his monitors for a couple of hours with tubes and sensors all over him, there were a lot of thoughts running through my head. Not that this was a life threatening situation, but what if God asked me to live without my husband. Could I do that? What would that look like? How would I explain that to my children? All of the emotions from watching my sister, Joy, hooked up to monitors came flooding back. Watching the blood oxygen number and the heart beat – it was just more emotional than my tired body could handle. Sundays are always draining, and this was the exclamation point.

All is well now, although I’m not caught up on sleep and playing nurse maid. Mike is doing better – he even drove today (against my advice), but seems to be improving quickly. He drove like a little old man with the bad leg running the gas pedal and the good one running the brake! He’s only taking Aleve now, so the pain seems to be subsiding. He’ll see an orthopedic/sports med doctor on Monday to start some physical therapy. I think he’s hoping to at least be able to play golf in two weeks. We’ll just have to see about that! I do think that he has learned that he needs to stretch out more before anything physical and that he should be content with a double! Now I’m ready for a boring few days!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

God's Puzzle Pieces

Thank you so much for all of your encouraging words!

Many things happen in our lives and we don't really understand why. But sometimes, God gives us a glimpse of how the puzzle all fits together.

Mike is a Police chaplain. He volunteers two days out of the month. Tonight he got his first call in over nine months. It was for an attempted suicide. I'm not saying that I'm thankful for Jeremy's experience, but I think it is amazing that Mike was the chaplain on call tonight. One more piece of the puzzle. Now if God could just explain this...

...happening on April 19th & 20th. UPDATE: And 25th & 26th! And was it necessary to damage these??

And a picture of cuteness, just because!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Alien Abduction

Lately I have had several people ask me how I am doing. Usually I have a good response, honest, but good. However, over the past few weeks I've done everything to avoid answering that question because I just don't know.

When I think about the big picture, we are really doing well. I have so much to be thankful for.

My kids are healthy - mostly - a few seasonal allergy issues, but no one is in need of antibiotics. I've had a few health issues, but I'm a mom and I power through.

We have a house to live in and food to eat. My kids are clothed.

The church is growing, albeit slower than we would like, but growing none the less.

I have a wonderful husband whom I love dearly and even like an most days!

But I was feeling overwhelmed.

I'm thankful that God has made me an organized person by nature, given me the ability to multi-task, blessed me with patience , and helped me to relax my perfectionistic tendencies some. (Joe-on-the-street would still say I was OCD!) My problem was that these qualities didn't seem to be operating. I felt like my brain had given me the "blue screen of death". (Something you MAC users probably have no clue about!)

I felt like I was teetering on the fence of depression. Having been there before, I didn't feel like I was there yet, but I was flirting with it. One friend asked me with everything I had going on why was I not curled up in the fetal position in the corner? My answer: I don't have the time! And I truly felt like I hadn't slipped into a "poor me" attitude. My biggest frustration was that I didn't know how to prioritize what needed to be done.

I loved my kids, but I didn't want to spent any time with them. They were frustrating. I couldn't seem to get them to mind what I said. Morgan started screaming. Jeffrey was throwing fits. Meredith had no understanding of personal space. Jarrett was dealing with some anger. Judson seemed to be able to break out in tears very quickly. Mikalah is 11 and hormonal (yeah!). I just felt like I didn't have the energy to deal with any of it. More than that, I just didn't know where to start.

I am so thankful for the house that God has provided for us. However, it needs some work. There is painting, and trim work to be done, but the most frustrating part is just the upkeep. I can clean a room and in five minutes it looks like a tornado has flown through. Mop the dining room floor? What's the point? After every meal it needs to be mopped again. Bathrooms? I really hate cleaning bathrooms. Much less a bathroom that a three year old boy uses! The yard needs work done, but I don't even know where to begin with that. Of course a day with no snow would be a good place to start!

My husband is a wonderful man. He works really hard to provide for our family. He plays with the kids. He loves the Lord and is working to spread His word. But all of that takes time. So the things that he used to do like help clean the kitchen, mop floors, yard work, and general house repair fall to....? Me. I don't mind this, but it is another plate to keep spinning. He and I get time together - after the kids are in bed. Desperate to enjoy time with him and a peaceful house, I've been staying up too late. Without the luxury of sleeping in.

Yellowstone Church is exciting. It is great to see people being impacted. I'm thoroughly enjoying my Ladies Bible Study. I love studying and then teaching and seeing these ladies get it and apply it to their lives and then relate it back to study!! I want to have the same excitement about teaching the kiddos, but I don't. That's not how God wired me. However I love how He shows up in our weaknesses.

On top of all of that, I have been feeling like I am not growing or learning. If I thought it was even a reasonable consideration I would go back to school and get my degree, but hello, we have too many plates spinning as it is! Besides I wouldn't even be able to tell you what I want a degree in!

Put it all together and I kind of feel like I have "pregnancy brain" without being pregnant! (Thank you Jesus!!! PAUSE while we do the happy dance!)

So all of that to say, that is where I have been the last two weeks. The solution?

Focus on the things that I am thankful for.

Get back to the basics.
Reading my Bible everyday.
I started a Beth Moore study "just for me". Okay, really it is what we will be studying over the Summer for Ladies Bible Study, but I'm starting it now to feed me. Then I'll also be four weeks ahead of the group - less stress preparing!

We are changing up Children's Church for the Summer to make less stress on me. We may actually start the third week in May since around here that means vacation has started. I talked with Mike's church coach today, and he was very encouraging. We are doing the right things. His suggestions fit right into what we were thinking and added to them. The man is wonderful, except that I cry every time I talk to him. I'm sure he thinks I'm a crazy, weepy woman!

While Mike and I enjoy our time together in the evening, we are committing to going to bed earlier. Sleep is good. Good for the brain!

I signed up for FlyLady again. While lots of what she says and does I think are completely goofy, she has a plan. I feel like the plan I had for our house was not working, so we'll try someone else's for a while until my brain returns. My favorite thing about her plan? I can do anything for 15 minutes. Thanks, Jill, for the suggestion!

As for the kids, all the issues are really a matter of attention. So they are my priority. I'm taking extra time to help them get dressed, to brush their teeth, to tuck them into bed, to linger over a meal and talk, to let them "help". I'm also trying to plan "special" activities that correspond to my to-do-list, but make them feel special. (taking one to the grocery store with me) I'm also not requiring as much from them and applying the "I can do anything for 15 minutes" principle. They seem to be responding to that.

So, I do not feel like I'm on the fence of depression anymore. I do not feel as overwhelmed. I don't feel like my brain is really completely back, but I feel like I have a plan now. Proverbs 29:11, "Where the is no vision, the people perish." That sums up how I was feeling. Now I have some vision back, some goals, some plans. It's not perfect, but it is much better.

Because there is a plan, my multi talsking is getting better, my patience is increasing, and my organization is improving. I know it sounds crazy, but I organized my sock drawer yesterday and it felt good. I know, I'm wierd, but it was really nice this morning to get socks out of an organized drawer. It made me feel better - like I could conquer the next battle. Who knew I could be so easily encouraged - the power of socks!

I am thankful for how God made me. These last two weeks have just been an example of what happens when I lose my focus on Him. For me that's when disorganization creeps in. Unfortunately, I let it go so long that it creeped into every aspect of my life. And now it is a slow process to get back to where He wanted me. I am so thankful for His forgiveness, love and understanding. I'm thankful that He prunes me and weeds out the clutter in my life.

Now if I would just learn that lesson and not keep making the same mistakes...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

AI, Did You Know?

I have to wonder how many people really knew what they were singing last night. Amazing to hear, great to get national attention, but was it missing the element of worship?

Yes, they did leave out the word "Jesus", but c'mon people, these are unsaved people singing praise to God! Do we really expect them to act like Christians??

Seeing this on national TV, made me think of the verse (sorry in a hurry - I'll look it up later and fill in) that talks about the rocks crying out in praise to God. Have I been too silent with my praise?

Monday, April 7, 2008

How many ways to serve Converted Goodness?

Look at what I bought today!!!

Unfortunately not at Costco. Why, because it is only 5 lbs worth. And unfortunately it will only last me for a few weeks.

But why am I so excited about rice?

Because I REALLY LOVE Uncle Ben's rice. Call me a rice snob if you will, but I love how the grains are individual. I love the taste. And I love the way it looks on my plate.

But it is not cheap.

Because of that fact, my husband brought this home the last time I sent him to the store and rice was on the list.

Why? Because it was cheap. And was 20 lbs. We have been trying to eat this bag of rice for the last four months.

Try is so the wrong word. Since I do not care for this rice, we have not had rice as often as we would when I could serve some good ol' Uncle Ben's.

I really don't mind "sticky" rice...when I'm having Chinese food and can drench it with lots of sauces. But when I am serving rice with a grilled pork chop and some garlic green beans, Uncle Ben's has that beautiful look to it.

Now maybe I never made "sticky" rice properly, but it always came out "sticky" and I just do not like "sticky" food. Unless of course you are talking about buns...but that's a whole 'nother food subject!

I did however almost waver and not buy the yumminess that is Uncle Ben's.


Because three days into Weight Watchers I am convinced that if it is good for you, then it must not taste good. But you know what? There is no difference nutritionally between my Uncle Ben's and the "sticky" rice!

Hallelujah and Thank you, Jesus!

Both are enriched (not the first choice of ultimate healthy eaters). Uncle Ben's does have 10 more calories per serving, but for the taste I am willing to sacrifice 10 more calories!

An interesting note: The "sticky" rice with its oriental writing on the front is manufactured in Arkansas. Uncle Ben's with it's Southern Black gentleman on the front (Uncle Ben himself!) is manufactured in California and the label is printed in both English and Spanish. Does this seem confusing to anyone else?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Catcus Cuties

Something else to make Texas proud!

While I am supposed to be working, my husband distracted me with this video. These girls are amazing!

Here is a article giving some more info on them.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Top Chef

Mike and I have always enjoyed watching Top Chef, but in light of the writers strike and now possible actors strike, our TV watching has been limited to reality based shows. Top Chef is in the "not stupid" category.

For last night's show, the remaining chefs were to pick their favorite movie and make a dish based off of that.

You can see recap of the show here.

So we decided to think about our favorite movies and what we would serve. This of course being non-reality, I would be able to cook amazing foods using amazing techniques.

My favorite movies are Grease and The Fox and the Hound.

After Mike stopped laughing, I told him what I would serve...

For Grease: a gourmet mini-burger, maybe with something other than ground beef, like tuna or some fancy thing the real Jennifer has never heard of. And fries made from turnips or some odd veggie. And a strawberry shake with something-something added. All of this would be in mini version, because apparently that signals up-class food.

For the Fox & the Hound: some wild game, like rabbit, heirloom veggies (although I have no clue what those are. To me heirloom means antique. I don't want to eat and old tomato!), and something that resembles mashed potatoes but of course is some other thing, like cauliflower or again, something I've never heard of.

Mike said his favorite movie was The Fugitive and he would serve dirt and bugs. He's no fun! So would you play with me??? What is your favorite movie and what would you serve?

Now since we are talking food, I have received permission to share the Lemon Bar recipe with you. However, it comes with a warning. These are too easy to make and too yummy that you might make them often and eat most of the pan yourself! In fact as I write this I am very tempted to make a batch, but I only have three eggs. Otherwise, I would!

The Lemon Bar Recipe:

2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
6 oz (that's 12 Tbsp.) butter

Mix together (I use a pastry blender) and press into 9x13 pan.
Warning: the "dough" will be very powdery. Pam assures me this is okay and trust me...it tastes wonderful!
Bake at 325 for 15 min.

6 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice
Mix together, then add
3/4 cup flour
and blend well.
Pour on top of baked crust and bake for 40 min.

Cool, cut, dust with powdered sugar and then plate...or eat right out of the pan - doesn't matter...it's all good...except for the calories! So run on the treadmill while eating your second or third!