Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Insignificant Me

Yesterday I was blessed (as blessed as one can be to ride a bus with a bunch of 4th graders and chase them around a pond all day) enough to go along on my 4th grade son's field trip. We learned about Iowa wildlife, searched for tracks, learned about the prairie grasses, and were introduced to some bugs.
Most of what we talked about or identified had a distinguishable purpose in the ecosystem. But, not all of them.

We came upon a lace bug- while it was interesting to look at and unique, when asked what the point of this bug was, our guide said it didn't have much of a purpose. And then she said something that I can't get out of my head. "Some creatures were not made to be significant.  They may never be more than the bottom of the food chain."

I thought that it was a depressing thought at first. And then on the ride home I thought about it some more. In this world we are so driven to be the best. Who can make more money. Who has the bigger business. Who has the biggest house. Who has the fastest car. Who has the most read blog. It is ingrained in us every day.

And I sit on the sideline and watch this go by. I have never been driven to be the best at anything. I am a hairdresser. Did I ever dream of being the greatest hairdresser to the stars? No. I have never in my work of any kind, dreamed of being anything great. I want to do my job, respect those I come across and come home. I am a foster parent. Do I strive to take in more kids than anyone else to earn a reward. No. That scares me! Yes, its great to help, but its not my goal to save the world. I am a blogger. Do I hope to have a great big blog with thousands of followers and make money from this? No. I am just here, getting stuff off my chest and hopefully brightening one or two people's day. I have no huge aspirations for my life. I never have. I have never wanted to be the next greatest anything.

For a long time, this made me feel like I was lazy or unmotivated. What was wrong with me that I never dreamt of the way it could be? Then, today, I was reminded that sometimes we are just created and not called to be something significant. And you know what? That is okay.

My hope doesn't rest in my success. My hope rests in Christ. This is my goal. To be a positive example and a light for Christ. To share Christ's love with everyone. Not by being the next Max Lucado, Rick Warren or Billy Graham. Just by being Alicia- daughter of a Savior, Sinner, wretch, humble, broken, mom, wife. If I can leave this world and only my husband and children say "She lived for God and we think she was the greatest", then my life was just as significant as if 5 million people said I was great.

I am not saying no one should have goals and dreams to be great. God made us all for a purpose and He will use each of us in His own way. I'm just telling you, that if you sometimes feel insignificant as I do, it's okay. God's using you, too. You're doing just what He wants you to.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40

Do you feel as though your purpose is the bottom of the food chain? Or are you working on being the king of the jungle?

(*Top picture from field trip, no idea which kids are in the picture, but they aren't mine. ;)
bottom picture  from the millipede plague of 2010, I'm still working on learning their life's purpose, but rejoice that they have decided to fulfill it further away from my home)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Because my pantry looks like this...

...I feel the need to share pumpkin recipes today.  
Yes, I may have panicked a bit at the thought of running out of pumpkin. I went to Sam's club hoping for the usual trio of 3 giant cans, but they must have caught on. They only sold pumpkin in the mixes now... so instead of $4.88 (total guess) for my 3 cans, I payed $8.99 (true story) for a mix that has 2 cans inside there. I may or may not use the rest of the stuff in the box. What can I say, ladies all around me were talking about the shortage while hoisting cases of these mixes into their giant carts. I panicked. Then I went to our local grocery store and they still had some, so being the reasonable person that I am, I snatched some up.

I will say that this is the only picture for today as I'm not actually making anything today. Because then I'll eat it and then my favorite jeans won't fit me. If I had somewhere to bring it all I promise y'all I'd make it and take pictures. But what I lack in pictures, I'll make up for in mulitple recipes. I know... try to contain yourselves.

Let's start off with the easiest one, no my favorite one... we'll go easiest first. Yeah. Let's go with that.

Pumpkin Dip
2 8oz packages cream cheese- softened
1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 cups sifted powdered sugar ( I never really sift it, just don't pack it)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground sugar
Beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth, add remaining ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate an hour. Serve with apple wedges, gingersnaps, or my personal favorite- Cinnamon graham cracker sticks.

Okay, now my most favorite pumpkin recipe ever!

Pumpkin Dessert

6 eggs
3 cups (2 cans) pumpkin
2 cups Evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cloves

Mix all ingredients well and pour into a greased 9x13 pan
Combine 1 box Butter Pecan* cake mix and 1/2c melted butter - this will be crumbly.
Crumble on top of pumpkin mixture in pan
Bake 1 hour at 350*

Serve warm with whipped topping. Store in fridge.

*Other recipes I've seen call for yellow cake or white cake mix, and while those will work fine, give the Butter Pecan a try- it's sooo much better! ;)

Okay, since we're already here I'll give you one more.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese frosting

4 eggs

1 2/3 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

Mix first 4 ingredients together in mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients together. Gradually add to the pumpkin mixture.
Spread into an ungreased jelly roll pan bake 25-35 minutes at 350*

6oz cream cheese
1 stick butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Beat together and spread over cooled bars

I hope I've given y'all your fill of pumpkin for the month now. Do you have any favorite pumpkin recipes to share? It looks like I won't be having a shortage this year, so I'd appreciate any new recipes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

But I don't wanna

Do you ever have that moment....

that one where you're called to do something you don't want to?

Do you give God this?

"I just don't want to?!"

Followed possibly by a ...
"Oh. Wait. What?"

Here are some verses that I'm trying to swallow when I hear those gentle nudges and I'm tempted to say "ugh, but I don't wanna"

1 John 5:2-3 (New International Version)
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome

1 John 5:2-3 (The Message)
. The reality test on whether or not we love God's children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The view up here

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

(picture taken landing at the Omaha airport on our return flight from San Antonio)

Friday, September 17, 2010

This just in...

Did you hear?!

I had no clue.

It was a total shock.

Evidently I live under a rock.

There has been a pumpkin shortage.
Yes, folks, that is right. Pumpkins are just not ripening in these wet summers.

I went to my local grocery store yesterday because I was making some yummy pumpkin bars for Bible study and to sell on my garage sale- everyone needs to keep up their energy level whether discussing Biblical views of cremation or backing over innocent children's easels that their mothers are using for a garage sale sign, right?

Anyway, I digress. As I was at the check out with my supplies which included canned pumpkin, my favorite checker exclaimed "We have pumpkin again?!" and I thought she was going to run off to go stash some away for herself. She then explained to me that there has been a shortage and just a few short days prior to this they had none and didn't know when it would be coming in. Everyone's been talking about it I'm told. I must come out from under this rock in which I live and turn on the TV I guess. I then told her I still had a giant can in my pantry from last year and just wanted extra in case I made more bars. The look on her face... it was like it was war time and I told her I had extra sugar rations.  Or so I imagine, because being 31 and all I really don't know anything about WWII or how people reacted to that situation. But I imagine it was close. 

This alleged pumpkin shortage was then confirmed as I served my bars at Bible study that night and one lady exclaimed "Are those PUMPKIN bars?! I wanted those last week and couldn't find pumpkin anywhere!"
That was all the proof I needed to know that this was a legitimate problem. And now I am stocking up and hoarding my pumpkin. October is just around the corner and I know those pumpkin lovers will be coming to me like an addict in need of a fix. And I will help them out. For a price of course. Just kidding, the sheer delight in their eyes will be enough for me.

Now, go out and get some pumpkin... we'd hate to have a pumpkin pie-less Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

For Sale

So here it is, that time of year once again. City Wide Garage Sales! Are you ready?

Time to watch out as you innocently go out on your errands, there may be mom in a mini-van inching her way down the road, not sure if she wants to commit to stopping at that garage sale.

Then there's the other mom in her giant SUV who decides at the last minute- or even beyond the last minute- that she DOES want to stop at that one a half a block away.

The moms driving while holding up their garage sale map talking on the cell phone to their friend on the other end of town.

Did I mention the tug of war over the stroller or perhaps that pack 'n' play? Oh, my personal favorite.... the mob at my garage ready to strike anything that makes a sudden move in front of them patiently waiting for me to open the door.

You should know that I am mean and stubborn... and easily entertained. I refuse to open the doors even a minute early, no matter how restless the mob is or how bottlenecked the cul-de-sac gets. I enjoy watching from my windows laughing and even on occasion snapping pictures. I know, I'm sick. I started my stubborn streak for valid reason-I didn't like showing up to garage sales with items I hoped for at the time they were set to open, only to find out they decided to open an hour earlier because they just did. See, so I really am doing the people a service. Ummm... yeah. Something like that.

Are you a garage saler? Do you enjoy the thrill of the hunt? Do you pitch and purge your own garbage in hopes of it becoming someone elses treasure? Or do you save and hold on to your own treasures and never want to give them up?

If you're in my neck of Iowa this week, be sure to stop by, I have plenty of treasures to give away! ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Playing Catch-Up and Counting Blessings

It occurred to me that I never did share the kids' first day of school pics... or my birthday breakfast pics for that matter. The breakfast ones will not be happening- due to the whole-early-morning-no-makeup-still-in-bed-factor, but here are the first day of school pics, and an equally fun birthday pic- Miss Maicy wanted nothing more than for us to get pedicures for MY birthday. I know, she's so giving and sweet- as long as she could have one too. :) It was fun to watch her get her first pedi- wish I had had my camera for that.

Where have my babies gone?!

So, its a little late, but better late than never right?

I am going to try to uncurl myself from the fetal position this week and choose to embrace the busy life that these big kids are bringing me. I'll let you know how that goes.

In all the busyness I am choosing to count my blessings. This week I am thankful for the Christian School where my children go. I love that their little hearts are being shaped and molded in ALL aspects of their life to see God at work. I am grateful for God providing the means for us to pay for that education. The teachers who show God's love to these kids.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it"
Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I didn't mean to... just sort of happened. A week goes by, and I haven't really turned on the computer. I haven't felt the need to check Facebook every hour. I didn't read 60 blog posts. I just lived the life going on around me. And the good news is, my world didn't fall apart. Apart from the occasional school webpage check and email, and what ever is available on my Blackberry, I didn't hit the computer. I have to say, it was a freeing week. I enjoyed time with family over the long weekend. Steve's sister and brother-in-law came down to our Nebraska acreage and we played. We had fresh air and enjoyed the mild fall days. The cool evenings around the campfire, the crisp mornings in the porch with a piping hot cup of coffee, a late night stroll in the dark through the woods to seek out critters, an even later night of card games and laughing. No computers necessary. (except to check those rules we always seem to forget between Labor Day weekends).

I have been learning a lot about addictions and strongholds lately and realized how dependant I've become on the computer for my entertainment. I feel that I can't start my day until I've read what everyone else is doing until I do something. I have found myself coveting other people's lives because of what they are doing and what they are making or what they're writing. I needed a little perspective.

I was able after the weekend to enjoy some girlfriend time. We laughed, drank coffee, made rich pasta dishes, and I frightened her to death with pregnancy horror stories. That's what friends do. No computer necessary. (except to help her find a crib online after it wasn't in the stores.)

So, if you missed me, I am sorry. I needed to take a little time to find my way back to the One who gave me all that I am. The One who blessed me beyond measure with amazing family and friends. I needed to step back and see all that I have and all that I am, yet I am nothing without Him. And if you're reading this, thank you for coming back, even after I disappeared. I'll try not to let it happen again, unless He calls me to. I look forward to catching up with my friends, especially with a little better perspective.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Because I'm too tired to think of something else...

....and my family is still trying to get over the shock that I willingly added two feline creatures to our home, I thought I'd share a different place with you while they recover. For a few months now I have been getting my daily dose of chuckle over at Catalog Living. I felt that it was only right to share that daily smile with all of you. If you are like me- I'm sorry if you are- a little sarcastic and confused when looking at Pottery Barn and other decorating catalogs, you will love this. They have an imaginary couple named Gary & Elaine living in these pristine homes with strangely staged photos. Of course, PB thinks this is a well designed room and well, I prefer Gary & Elaines sarcastic humor instead. So, here's one for you today, and if you want to see more, click on over every day for your smile at Catalog Living.

Table for one…
Gary hated mornings when Elaine went to her early Zumba class, but at least it gave him the chance to reflect on his early sketches and pray to his lucky number.

Seriously though, go check there site for awhile, you'll laugh til you cry. Unless you don't. It's all good.