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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the unloading of February

* Haven't had much to say, friends...less words...good for me, good for you.

No knitting or crafting lately. A little reading, school, some friendly visits, a sleepover, tennis lessons, two fun outings {here and here,} a loooonnng  hike with Uncle Nack & the hound dog...occupied our time last week. 

No particular crises or victories to speak of...just plugging away, missing Sweet Man terribly, seeking signs of spring desperately, trying to grab a foothold on time slipping away.

Other random thoughts in my head these days:

* My camera is in the shop for its annual no recent pics. I'm missing it. 
No, really...I'm missing it.

*  While I am enjoying the great thaw immensely, it reveals bagsful of trash that have blown into our yard. Better get to work.

* I am allowing myself one minor freak-out per day and the kids have ample warning. Taking place at that time when I look around and see the shrapnel of our activities, I set the timer and challenge them to beat the clock. All toys on the first floor must be returned to the playroom, couch cushions replaced {gah!,} games and puzzles back in their boxes. I've even smartened up and put them to work more regularly...using the electric broom for spot floor cleaning or to do the stairs, fetching this and that, emptying trash cans inside and bringing the trash cans in from the street, emptying the dishwasher, putting away laundry.

* I've also enticed/cajoled encouraged the boy to read to the girl...what a concept...fantastic. Not to worry, I'm still reading to them myself, plenty. Our current bedtime read is The Jungle Book.

* And to fuel all this child labor...we've been more deliberate at breakfast time...each morning asking which protein do you want? Years ago a friend passed on this advice to me feed them protein at breakfast and it was reiterated more recently. We've been at it for more than a year and it makes a world of difference. The boy and I are classic carboholics. Try to take our box of crackers away and you'll pull back a bloody stump. So, we've been talking about the difference between carbs and proteins...our bodies use carbs up faster and we are hungry sooner than if we've eaten a protein, alone or with carbs. {We don't talk about good or bad foods in our house...just balancing foods that make our bodies work better with foods that don't.} You can have a pancake or cereal, with a protein. Eggs, PB, yogurt, kefir, or turkey bacon are our protein staples. By the way, my kids really like the kefir at Aldi. I don't know how the price compares to those elsewhere...we just pick it up there as that's our frequent grocery stop.

And I've added another favorite breakfast to my repertoire: my version of the fantastic Subway breakfast sandwiches ~ egg or egg white, grilled green peppers & onions, tomato slice...avocado slices or sprouts if we have them...on an English muffin or not.

My Christmas fry pan {in ocean, *wink} is getting a workout. Seriously, I use it at least 3 times a day.

* This girl of mine eats frozen peas like jellybeans. Weird.

* Veering into the spiritual realm...I would like to stop the wishing...I spend an inordinate amount of time qualifying dreams with phrases...biding time until life is different. 
  • when he gets home, security will return...
  • when we leap off this merry-ground life, life will be less complicated...
  • when relationship A, {B, C, D, etc.} becomes healthier, my restless heart will stop its wondering...
  • OR I need to accept the fact that some people just don't dig me...and can't I be okay with that?
  • if we ever sell this house, I can't wait to settle into a home with some woods and land...and get a big ol' dog
  • when I get a grip on my health, I will be confident and purposeful....
Really a waste of time, don't you think? I was reminded in last night's sermon that this use of my brain power {and several others habits of mine} is a purposeless pursuit.

Kick me and remind me that my life rrrr-hocks.

Today, I will...cuddle, take a walk with the babes, not clean, take a nap, read my Bible extra long, try a new recipe {yum! reminds me of chili-cheese fritos and sweet HLMC...thinking of you and your family, sweetie...}

* Some of you have asked about churches...specifically why I think Eastview is "my favorite." I'm working on an answer for you...gathering and gleaning from that community, Mars Hill, and our home church. One thing in my evaluations has become clear again {thank God!} is not about me or my comfort.

Okay...I broke my less words policy. Bye!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Remember the scarf I knit last year? {out of scrumptious yarn, I might add...}

I love it. I love wearing it. I would be wearing it right now.

But....I can't for the life of me find it and that fact is driving me absolutely insane.

I wore it last spring in NYC and home again...then thought I put it away for this season. But now...nowhere.

I've looked in my two off-season bins, storage in Apple Valley, kids' bin,  & all my luggage.  I didn't take it to Indiana or Iowa, so it's not in some random hotel out yonder.

The only other explanation I've come up with....*gasp* what if it was stashed in a donation bag and selled away? That's an extremely valuable, irreplacable, itemized deduction, right there.

Say it isn't so.

It's just hiding from me. Right? Drat.

*if you've seen it, please let me know*

Friday, February 11, 2011


First things first...before I tell you about our I type, I snack on rice cakes + nutella. Glory be, because, let's face it, rice cakes are really just a useful delivery system. I should cut out the middleman and lick the spoon, but that would be so over-the-top indulgent...surely, I wouldn't do that. {You're judging me, aren't you?} Go ahead and's that limiting sugar, carbs, & caffeine going, Ame? I'm still on the wagon so to speak...limiting not prohibiting.

Okay, back to the post and our history lesson for the week. 

While serving as Illinois' governor, Abraham Lincoln was elected president and delivered this speech from the Springfield, Illinois train station Feb. 11, 1861 {the day before his birthday, no less} before he departed on his historic whistle stop tour to the White House.

My friends - No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being, who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him, who can go with me, and remain with you and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To his care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

This morning, we joined in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of this speech. People in nine states and D. C. gathered at significant sites to participate in the simultaneous reading, hoping to beat the current record holding from Dec. 13, 2006 of 223,363 people reading a passage from Charlotte's Web.

In Illinois, there were several participating sites. Bloomington is home to the honorable David Davis, U. S. Supreme Court Judge {1862-1877.} Interested in him? Go here. He was a political contemporary and trusted friend of Lincoln. Because Davis had an important personal Lincoln connection, his home was one of these sites. We chose to drive about 3 minutes down the way where we found this beautiful antebellum mansion and several people gathered to participate in breaking the world-record.

At 10:45am, we all began reading together, repeating it 4 times to ensure the reading lasted 5 minutes. It was very cool...powerful words gave me the chills. My chills had chills as we toured the stunning house. Marble sinks and fireplaces in each room, gorgeous curved and painted plaster ceilings, restored furnishings...I'm a sucker for all that stuff. Alas, I wasn't allowed to take pictures.

Official numbers for the simultaneous reading will not be confirmed for a few weeks...updated here.

So, after my Tuesday tantrum, this has turned into a banner week...kiddos took a homeschool class on the human body at the Children's Museum yesterday, we had our historical adventure today, and tomorrow Bean and I are going to a Pinkalicious party at a bookstore. 

Gotta go...Sweet Man has has some important job news for me. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm joining Ginny over at small things in her loves of reading and knitting. 

In my melancholy yesterday, I remembered this gem that a friend gave me at the beginning of our adventure. It travels with us, for good reason. I have dog-eared many a page as we try the activities and find some we will do over and over.  Just need to remember I have this resource at my fingertips. {Author: Carol Stock Kranowitz, M. A.}

And you can see, I'm still in the mitten groove...not sick of them quick & satisfying. I've made enough that I don't need to look at the pattern anymore. Mindless knitting = heaven. I should also 'fess up and tell you that I am usually a natural yarn girl...a fiber snob, if you will. I love a bumpy wool or a silky bamboo/cotton blend, but I found this variegated acrylic for a steal at {wait for it}...Big Lots. I tried a skein, loved it, went back and bought up a basketful. On 7's it knits up tightly and fast. So,'re welcome.

And about all are so kind and patient with me. Thank you for your sweet words yesterday and today. I never write intending for anyone to read or respond, but am humbled and grateful when you do.

I knew the blues would ebb, but God has used you to accelerate the process. Engaging in the moments with my babes, rolling with the rhythm of the day, prayer {yours and mine}...have all gently adjusted my perspective.  And then my sweet man came home for an rare lunchtime with us. We had a spontaneous {at least, I wasn't expecting his declarations,} crazy, vision-building conversation including some concrete timelines...I need those flags on the horizon, ya know. As he walked out to return to the office, he reminded me that I have the evening off to go do something fun. Today is joy-filled, joyful.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Friends, this is not going to be pretty. It has been a whinefest in my head and now it's here in in black & white. Some of you have endured my other fits, and you're still here? Wonders never cease.

Living this nomadic life for two+ years has at least afforded me a little warning, so I've anticipated the creeping, sucking funk. And I am very aware of my propensity to hibernate. But it usually hits about three weeks into a trip. The snow and cold has me feeling particularly trapped, so it's early. Call it cabin fever...I don't really know what to call it, but it smacks of the depression I felt after my mom died.

I feel disconnected. We're here, alone. My kids are sick of me...they need their buddies. I miss you at home, but don't feel really part of that world either, because we're gone often enough. And in a week, when we are back, I will be a single momma again, leaving Sweet Man here. Those are the choices, right now. {We chose this, I know...y'all have been mighty gracious, never saying that to my face.}

What I know is that the tension of this life has me frayed, yet again. Stretched beyond. I'm speaking of the tension that we all live with...Romans 7 stuff...I want to do what I should not and can't muster the strength to do the things I should. I can't hold ends together for my kids. I'm tired of fighting it...tired of meal planning, picking up, untangling hair and fights...finding engaging, healthy, creative ways to spend our time. 

I gotta get out of this place.

In fair weather, we do just that...spend hours at the playground, ride bikes on the trail, fly a kite, something. But I'm out of ideas...we've played Uno and Go Fish, been to the museum {& going back Thursday,} been thrifting and grocery shopping, made valentines. I'm thinking about hitting the gym with a day pass, but I don't know what the childcare sitch is at the gyms in town and don't have the energy to find out. Don't know if we I can endure the 0 degrees to go play in the snow. We've been swimming enough that everything {and everyone} has a slight bouquet of chlorine.

Today, I want to give in to every whim, theirs or mine. Yes, you can eat M & M's for breakfast...sure, let's watch another episode of Zach and Cody, even though we've seen this one 3 times, *sigh* we don't have to do school today...of course, you can tear the room apart, walk barefoot to the car, tackle your brother...shoot the balloons with your fake bow and arrow, in your underwear {you look like Cupid}...go for it. {Post edit: They didn't have m&m's for breakfast, we did indeed have school, etc. I'm just getting worn out from the negotiations.}

Every day there are parts of me that compel me to just check out, drive through Krispy Kreme {have I told you there's one so close that I could spit and hit it?} and sack out in front of the TV. {Haven't done it...yet.} 

That damn's so easy...and we have many tempting versions...cable, laptops, smart phones...and now, a DSi. {Thank you, Sweet Man. It's a problem...I may have mentioned...the number one argument between us. How much screen time is okay? What habits do we want our kids to cultivate? What is real...on a screen, in a book, in life?} Sometimes I wish we were a TV free house...and am very aware that we could be, especially when Sweet Man is away. Maybe. I want my kids to love books and learning...hiking and the outdoors...healthy, safe relationships...good nourishing food. Using the bodies and minds and hearts God gave them...not numbing them with the anesthesia of technology. 

But today, I want to give in and slip into that slumber. {Is this a struggle just for me?} 

Because I know my body tricks me and signals that it wants something that will not do me any good in the long run, I'm reigning in my sugar, carbs, and caffeine...getting plenty of sleep...I hope my adrenal system will thank me, soon. That could be a good part of this equation.

And a good dose of service would help, causing us to look beyond the walls of this hotel and beyond ourselves. Haven't figured that out yet...visits to nursing homes? volunteering at the church pantry?

And maybe a kid-free break...that would be good...maybe. Sweet Man will let me go get a cup of decaf, sans enfants...maybe.

Well, I've put on my favorite sweater and my pink chucks. I'm listening to my incredible kids play Simon Says and talk about puppies nervous pee-ing. Maybe we'll go visit the meerkats {indoors} at the zoo.  Then to the library. Maybe I'm starting to smile.

{Post edit: The zoo was fun...we went from warm building to warm building and sat and watched the the meerkats, a Sumatran tiger, the gibbons, and the lemurs...spending enough time that we did not make it to the library...but there are 9+ hours to fill tomorrow. AND...Sweet Man said, of course, go find a Starbucks or a bookstore. Get out for a while. Wonderful man. Wonderful kids.}

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I kissed a six year old boy goodnight and woke up with a seven year old. His balloons were lightly bumping around in the vent current when we all woke up. 

Oh, me...another year. 

This momma wasn't even gonna try to make a cake in a hotel, so we ordered...he picked out the one decorated like a football field and wanted his name in Steelers colors...we/he/we are not pro-football fans...I had to google to find out who was playing. Super Bowl...Shmuper Shmowl...but he has shared his birthday with the national hype a few times in his short life.

Just like his sister's day, we paced his presents. The first was presented early, during the great snow-in. In the spirit of teaching the histories of government coups and the instability of political borders, we gave him Risk. I realize this may be a controversial parenting move. Thank you for your concern, but it's very entertaining, especially as the wind howls outside. Even Bean is in on it...lying in wait for her turn to attack! 

After church, and with an appropriate lunch break, he opened his other gifts one at a time, throughout the day. Legos, legos, and a couple Kindle books {original Hardy Boys} from Opa and Anne and {gulp} a Gameboy DSi {oy vey...swept up in the riptide of technology. Will we drown?} Oh, and he received a real life tool kit as a Christmas/birthday gift from G & G Johnson.

Been watching Long Way Down today. Love those boys and their adventures...both Long Way Round {their first trip} and LWD are available on Netflix...wink, wink. Another controversial parenting move: there is some saucy language, so you may not want to watch it with the young ones. Speaking of is a great post on that very subject...ugliness of the mouth/ugliness of the heart stuff. Wise, wise, Jesus-loving women out there on the interwebs. I want to be one when I grow up...can't believe I have a seven year old boy. {Oh, Bug, this post started as an account of your birthday and I veered into other things...I'm off to write you a birthday letter, FYE, only.}

Friday, February 4, 2011


a while ago, i remarked offhandedly about blessing vs. luck...

you know, the reciprocity of the universe...

...and stuff

thinking aloud about what i believe...before i've thought it all through

which is always the wisest way to i right?

{i find a glass of pink wine enhances the wisdom, as well, 
although i haven't had one in a few weeks, so...}

never was coherent about my thoughts...

got as far as...

isn't blessing a pious version of the concept of luck? 

{i even caught myself recently wishing a friend luck

i know, where'd that come from?}

i throw that word blessing around too casually, as well...

wishing people blessings

sounds sweet...

however, my blessings are clearly defined for my God...

because He needs my help

it's not a extensive list, just anything that provides 

 the least amount of discomfort possible, at any given moment

 but can't challenges be blessings?

these words sum up my thoughts on the matter, quite nicely...


i may have to use a little of my inspiration budget, so this reminder can hang on my wall

 lucky i found it at studio mela , props to her

maybe i don't have to come up with my own words after all...

i'll just remember hers

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm joining Ginny over at small things in her loves of reading and knitting.

Kicking around in my knitting bag this week are...

...a wee pair of mittens and our favorite volume of Childcraft. 

Bean and I read Rapunzel and Snow-White and Rose-Red out of this book almost every day...whether momma wants to or not...some things are just not up to me, you see

My Granny and Gramps had the whole Childcraft collection {15 in all} in their library and I remember curling up on the bumpy chenille bedspread and reading them many an afternoon. I don't know what happened to those books, but the year Bug was born, I tracked down a set on eBay and snatched them up. The first 3 volumes are usually with us in our travels. Sweet, sweet stories and poetry...well-known fairy tales, Aesop's fables, nursery rhymes. The science and history volumes are fun to look at, too, as they were published in 1954.

And here is the view outside our hotel room doors. We did indeed have 20 inches of snowfall {5" yesterday and 15" more last night - we're SW of Chicago.} The facility is a cluster of several buildings with paths and a courtyard connecting us all. In and amongst the buildings, the snow blows and twists around into pretty significant drifts.

We've had a quiet day, with Sweet Man working from here. I think I'm going to take the kiddos for a swim so he can actually get something accomplished. 

Hope you are warm and cozy and with the ones you love.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh, the weather outside

Happy February!

I know we're all getting socked in with snow...they're hyping 20+" here and a foot{?} at home.

I, for one, couldn't care less how much snow we get...we have all we need in this little hotel room. We don't need to go anywhere.
{post edit: I do care about those who are affected by the harsh weather...praying for safety for everyone.}

We're still prone to coughing fits, but we're all much better {thank you, for asking.} Sweet Man came home from the office early, Zuppa Toscana's on the stove {without the bacon,} and there are plenty more popsicles for Sweet Lips. 

I think I'll teach myself to crochet...we need some more hearts around here. 

There's no place I'd rather long as the electricity and interwebs hold

I hope the same is true for wherever it is you are.