Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pickin' and Grinnin'

It's that too short time of raspberry season (not to be confused with blackberries...those are larger and ripen later in the summer.) The hunt is on. If I am outside, I can never quite concentrate on the task at hand...because I am scanning the bushes looking for those jewels.

Grandpa J picked a quart yesterday and I promptly commandeered them and made a cobbler with Granny's recipe. I doubled it and then didn't bake it enough...and was disappointed. I've been messing up most of the little bit of cooking I've done in the last month. At my MinL's suggestion, I baked it a bit more and now it is delicious. I try to walk past the dish without taking a bite...tough. And to think I was going to rein my eating in this week after Creation's camp food gluttony. Not this week...ha!

I've been to 2 stretches of the Kokosing Gap trail in the last 24 hours and have scoped out the harvest. And there are more here around the spring (not the season...a water source spring). Thursday or Friday will be the best days to pick, I think. I'll suit up against the bugs and poison ivy, but the potential itching is worth the taste of the berries. I'm greedy; it's difficult for me to stop...I know there are always more perfect ones hiding from me.

Here's Granny's recipe...feel free to tweak is pretty forgiving. You're gonna have to pick your own berries, though.... ;) Proceed with caution...this is a "get a spouse" recipe. Oh, the power of butter and sugar.

Fruit Cobbler
1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1 c. milk

Oven 350 degrees. Melt butter in a smallish baking dish. Mix flour and other ingredients with a whisk to make batter.

1 1/2 c. fruit (berries work best, but you can do peaches or plums)
2/3 c. sugar (optional...tweak away)

You can cook the fruit and sugar or just weep the fruit.
Pour batter into dish with melted butter. Drop fruit on top of batter. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden and the cobbler doesn't jiggle too much (my mistake last night.)

I suggest refrigerating it overnight and eating it for breakfast...decadent.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Catchup on Creation

Okay, and we're back....
Creation got busy once the festival started, so I lost my blog motivation....

The kids had a great time reuniting with friends they've met but don't see very often. They each had a buddy to hang out with. And everyone got comfortable enough to fight with each other and then make up. We really had a blast with Bug and Bean and friend, Tony, and his kids. Each morning, we attempted to travel to the Kid's Tent to hear fun music, see the reptile/amphibian guy (still don't know the difference; I wasn't listening so good :) ) and a new ventriloquist (yay-I never liked the creepy guy from the last 3 years.) And we spent mucho time at the Inflatables Play area - it had a climbing wall and bungee/trampoline thingy. And no one got sunburn, despite the beautiful weather!!!!

We got to see Chris Tomlin, Third Day, and David Crowder on main stage...we heard Casting Crowns. I heard some good "new to me" music...B. Reith and New Found Son. And I found the Jon Foreman CD I've been looking! Late night giggles were stifled around the know, after "Lights Out" but we just couldn't truck our dusty selves one last time to the port-o-pots and then zip ourselves into bed. None of my favorite speakers were David Nassar or Rob Bell but I heard some good stuff... hmmm, sounds like I'm complaining. Yep, here comes my pity party...stop reading if you don't wanna hear it....

It turned out to be a different Creation for me...maybe because of life circumstances this time around. There were many "i's" undotted and "t's" uncrossed with our last minute shelter scramble. I forgot/didn't plan well and was logistically unprepared for our 5-day rough camp. The tent was way comfortable, but my head was just not in the game. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be as "fun" as it has been in past years.

I was feeling maybe a little vulnerable or raw or something and it took one song from Chris Tomlin to break me...Thursday night. The rest of the week, emotion was close to the surface. Several times I found myself sitting in a chair, zoned out.

Bottom line is: God used the week to reteach a lesson that I should already know and live.

I've said this before... often, my stress is proportional to the difference between my expectations and reality. And to take it one step further, if I try to control a situation or a person to fit my expectations...I'm WAY off base.

When I have expectations of people (myself included,) events, or even God, I am in the wrong. Especially expectations that are unspoken. How fair is that? When I count on an individual to give me whatever it is I think I need, and don't even bother to express what I need, I'm bound for disappointment. When I assume that a wonderful experience will be duplicated, I will be disillusioned. I am so self-centered. Human beings were not meant to fulfill me and my needs. Life should only drive me into greater dependence on the One who can make more sense of it.

In a crisis moment (okay, another of my tantrums,) I took a walk and had a meeting with God. Through my blurred, teary eyes I could see my mistakes.

I needed to learn that lesson again...hope I don't again soon. Lord, help me live the day...and enjoy...not frequently wish things were different. I can pray for the best, try to plan for the worst...and end up somewhere in the middle. That's sounds pretty good to me.

I did worship and I am thankful for the lesson. I can be pretty sure that it was just the Creation God had planned for me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Creation, day 1

We're here. Creation Festival Northeast 2009. We had a little hiccup in plans when a friend alerted us to the soggy state of Agape Farm. Most of the year, this farm is home to many head of cattle...they clear them out for many head of people...about 70,000.

He cautioned us against bringing the mondo camper (~12,000 lbs.) as so many cars were becoming stuck in the fields and the staff was not allowing any driving into the fields. So we scrambled. Another friend, who was carvaning with us to the Festival, offered his tent. Plan B is on.

Now the kitchen is assembled, tent is up, baby pool is filled, drinks are on ice. We're here, we're set up, and we're hot. Oh, yeah, there's music, too.

When God got a'hold of me again 12 years ago, I was already in love/awe of live music. I was often traveling to see the Grateful Dead, Ekoostik Hookah, and others. It was a significant part of my life. They were fun but foggy days. But after I had recommitted my life to Him, I felt it would be better to leave that part of my life behind...not the enjoyment of the music (because I still love it,) but some of the other things that came along with the lifestyle. God showed me this alternative...Creation Festival: a week of camping and music and boogeying down and fun. Yes, please. He knows me, so well.

We've been coming for 11 years and there are many memories, to remember and to make. Sweet Man and I became engaged on the mountain here at Agape Farm. We meet up with friends from NY and PA and camp every year. What fun to see our kids become friends, too.
It's a week of worship with little distraction except surviving the heat and playing cards. I love it. Tonight the festival officially starts and continues through Sunday morning.

It is so worth's the closest to heaven I'll get on earth. And you can come with us next year....

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I was inspired recently by my fave SouleMama to make a "Princess and the Pea" diorama. Not because Bean loves the story (although I hope she will soon) but because I was excited by the idea of bringing a story to life. Yeah, it's all about me. craft a playset that Bean may enjoy. I took a children's literature course where we had to do the very same thing...choose a story and gather/craft props to tell the story...really fun.

I even got Grandpa J involved when I asked him to build a bed frame...I asked one evening. The next day we had plans away from the house and when we arrived home, it was finished...and the project was off and running. I found 1/2" foam at a Ben Franklin store. And for a few weeks, I have been gathering fabric: some from my small stash that didn't get "selled away," some from thrift store sheets, and some from store remnants. Bean helped me guide the fabric through the sewing machine. After a couple hours of cutting and sewing, here it is:

I only made 10 mattresses instead of the story's 12 or 20 (in different versions)...come on...literary license, right? The top floral fabric and the striped floral are both from my Granny's fabric that even though they never got to meet, they can have a little connection. The pea is a green marble I found in Grandma J's toys. The quilt is a $.59 wall hanging from Goodwill. And I bought her a three. Still not sure if I'm ready for that...her name is Anabella Cinderella princess. I could have sewn a doll...maybe later. Anyway, she fits in the bed.

So far, I've played with it more than she has. Fun.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't freak out, but...

I am not the most cautious parent. Bumps and bruises found on my children are often the result of my haste and carelessness. And I am not one to succumb to behavior-changing panic after I receive an email account of something that may or may not have happened in the parking lot of a convenience store/mall/gas station. (I appreciate to diffuse the power of anxiety-inducing anecdotes.)

On the other hand, I am taking a couple of scenarios seriously. It does occur to me that tragedy strikes in this world and I would be most affected by something happening to my littles. (Have you ever listened to Alison Krauss' "Jacob's Dream?" Don't, if you aren't prepared to weep for a few days. But it will cause you to hold the people you love tighter.)

The scenario on my mind currently is the danger of a child being trapped in a car in the heat of our summer days. I've been reading the blog of a sweet Australian woman who lost a 3 year old daughter in this kind of tragic accident. Bean is 3, it's hot...I'm hyperconscious right now. We lost track of her for a bit at lunchtime and my heart pounded as I checked each of the cars. She had snuck off to the basement...all's well.

So today, Bug and I were waiting to pick up Sweet Daddy from the airport. I took the opportunity to talk him through the steps of getting out of a locked car and candidly ask him if he thought he could help Bean get out if she was inside and he was on the outside. I am reassured...he can get himself out. Now I need to talk to her about it.

The other crisis plan I need to tackle is how my babes can communicate their location by phone to emergency personnel. We practice "911 - send" often...but which address do we memorize? We've had 6 in the last 6 months. Can we rely on our phone's GPS location finder? I'll have to figure that one out another time.

Other thoughts: Where is the balance between crisis awareness and prevention and hysteria? And could I survive the loss of a child?

(Update: Friday, the 3 of us were waiting for Sweet Daddy (buying a generator for Creation AC!) and we ran some drills. They each had to try to get out of the locked car, using the manual lock, not the electric...just in case the power isn't working in an emergency. All went well, except our car alarm was tripped a couple of times which startled all of us. But really, that's just what I would want to happen if my babes need help, right? Kevin heard it from inside the store and just thought I was becoming impatient. Tee hee. But he didn't come running...hmmm. We also talked about what to do if a big person they don't know is trying to take them somewhere=>yell and kick and run away. Bug reviewed his newly acquired karate ski-zills...ha-ya! And then we reviewed "9-1-1-send" if they need the police or the hospital. Is this all too much? What do y'all think? Am I freaking out a bit much?)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jewels on the Vine

I love summer and just about everything that comes along with it. The swimming, the smell of cut grass, the campfires, sore bare toes, (Bean has at least 3 hurting right now) the afterglow of a day in the sun...

...and berries, all varieties. Now, my favorites (thanks to my Granny) are black raspberries. If I get any this summer, I'll tell you about them later.

Today was our annual trip to pick strawberries with sweet friend Michelle and her niece. It is a standing date that we have kept for at least six years. We (read "I" without my little people) picked for about an hour in perfect berry-picking weather: ~78 degrees and slightly overcast. I confessed that this year, without a kitchen in which to "put up" our harvest, I was really there to see her and catch up. The strawberries were secondary, but I couldn't resist picking about 9 pounds. Anyone need any?

Part of our tradition is travel down the road to the local ice cream factory and eat a picnic lunch, feed the ducks (I always forget the bread, but Miss Michelle came through!) then indulge in ice cream cones. You know, after all that hard work...we deserve it....

That's a record of Bean's day on her shirt.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Saturday, we had such a wonderful time with old friends and getting to know some others better. To celebrate her husband's birthday, a dear friend planned a camping trip to Salt Fork and invited friends to visit the campground for boat rides and swimming, then dinner and campfire. (I told Sweet Man to take notes...this is exactly the way I want to celebrate my 40th.)

You may not know that I consider the smell of a campfire as possibly one of the best things made in heaven. They should make a scratch and sniff sticker out of it. So if an event involves burning wood and food, I'm pretty much there. I purposely don't wash my hair for a couple of days, so the scent lingers...are you grossed out yet?

The fire was delightful, but may have been outdone by sinking into old friendships and catching up. I really appreciate people who know my backstory and really care to know what's going on with us. And we, them. I gleaned some wisdom from my friend's momma, who has herself gracefully battled cancer. I'm sure everyone got sick of me asking questions...sometimes I feel as though I'm interviewing.

The weather was nearly perfect, the boat ride was just exhilarating enough, and the food...well, you know...can't go wrong eating outside. Perhaps the cherry on top was that all of our kids, who have had abbreviated visits over the years and don't know each other all that well, got along so fantastically. That was fun to watch...wish you could see it, but I couldn't find my camera...until this afternoon.

I love summer. Thank you, dear friends. So good to see you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


The view in the Valley right now includes this:

The credit goes to my green-thumbed FIL and the Creator of ALL things beautiful...including you, m'dear reader.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two words

Baby skunks.

Good grief.
Terribly cute.

No stink.
Set free.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Twofer Wednesday

Double score today...we went shopping at the Goodwill on the edge of town. After wandering and some whimpering, the trip was justified well worth it...Grandma J found a Melissa & Doug magnetic calendar that I have coveted lo' these many years...for $5.99! Minus her discount! Woot!!!! Someone or something chewed on the number magnets, but no matter...we will use it and enjoy!

Later, Bug and I were at Big Lots...dangerous for me...and I found this perky Nalgene bottle filled with Crystal Light packets and coupons for Brita systems...$2...yes, please. Go find your own....

Play Day

A whole day dedicated to play...yay! Tuesdays are good days for us to hang out in Licking County because I like to go to Celebrate Recovery on Tuesday nights. I'm always glad when I go, last night is no exception...God continues to change me and others through that group.

So with that in mind and after a little email chat with a bestie (Starr Strung uses that term; I'm just trying it on for size) we set up a morning play date at a splendid, but little known park. We met at 10 and though the weather threatened to be rainy, it brightened up by the time we got there. Really quite perfect. We knit and crocheted, talked, kids played...and then lunch. Another MOP friend was there with her daughter, nice surprise.

I did squeeze some not so fun errands in...Verizon, Kohls returns, water sample to pool store. Kids were troopers as usual.

And I lost my phone AGAIN and had to back track...second time in a week...someone's messing with me. 

We headed to another bestie's house to play and swim...and drink tea...again just right. We both are trying to curb our complaining...and did a fine job...well, she did. I fell into that ditch a little. Why is it so easy for me to discuss the yucky stuff of life when if I stop and think about it for a split second, I am too blessed, much more than I deserve....

Oh, and I found my phone.

I wanted to squeeze in one more visit with another bestie before CR, just to make things really a dinner out was the ticket. Good, quick meal with her husband and all the kids. 

Shoulda taken more pictures to share...ah, well.

So glad to hear the speaker at CR share about his victory. I've been thinking today about what he said: the sin we have committed does not define us...the closer we come to God, we separate ourselves from it and the power of the secret sin disappears. We don't have to sink into our identities as alcoholics, anorexics, people pleasers, pornography addicts, victims, etc...and we don't have to keep living in the sin...easy enough to say, sometimes harder to live, but still liberating stuff....

Monday, June 1, 2009


Never really thought I'd see this...but Pravda is relaying the truth while our US government continues to lie to us...what the heck is going on?