Saturday, September 29, 2007

ISO: Quiet time help

Mine has been pretty, uh, dry lately. If I try to have a "real" just sitting quietly quiet time, I fall asleep. So what I've been doing is a little fragmented; I practice my weekly (well, last week it was a biweekly) memory verse and read my bible in a year passage when I first get on line. I also read a couple of devotions (that also show up in my in-box), and I often spend some time either studying the verses I'm teaching in Sunday School or that are coming up next in our sermon series. I either have praise music or nothing on for the six or so hours I'm at work (not a lot of contact with others) and have prayer time for the 30-45 min I'm running. Some of my routes have definite rhythyms of dialing down, praise and adoration, thanksgiving and supplication...and other days, I never get past dialing down. Like today. But even when I do get past that, it still seems like a totally one way thing--I'm listening but not hearing anything...and I need more than that! I'm open to suggestions...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's my title?

Today a journalist called me at work to ask me about my contribution to a local storefront art show. She opened with, "You're a photographer, right?"

Hmm. Photographer is not on my list. Professor, biochemist, Sunday School teacher, yes; Mother, wife, daughter, yes. Photographer? Notsomuch. More like someone who just gets lucky on occasion and gets a great shot, though I really like the notecards I've made with some of my pictures.

But it made me wonder, are there other titles I have that I don't even know that are mine? What titles would God give me?

The two verses I found are Malachi 3:12 and John 15:15:
Malachi 3:12: "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty. This one is a little tricky, because of the "then" at the beginning, but if you read the previous verses, the "if" of the "if then" statement is if you tithe. And God even challenges us to test him on it! While I don't always feel blessed, I definitely AM blessed; God has made good on his promise (like he always does :)).

The second one, John 15:15 is tougher for me: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. Wow. We're not God's servants, we're his friends!! I'm not sure I can quite wrap my brain around that. But what I do know is that the key difference between servant and friend in this verse is knowledge --we're his friends because he's "let us in" on what he's up to. Isn't that the truth? Your true friends know what's up in your life.

Thanks Lord for calling us blessed and your friends. Help me to be a good friend to you and listen to what you're telling me, and thank you for the many earthly friends you've given me.

Thankful Thursday

I thought I'd take after some of the psalms and do an acrostic...

Godly friends
I have a clean house but didn't have to clean it!
Vineyard Church
Every good gift from God

Thankful Thursdays!
Henry and Harmony
August 2002 mommies
Night time story time
Kisses and hugs from my kiddos

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--last chance of the summer

Light a couple of birth day candles today

In memory of the birth day we're not celebrating today.

God, I still don't understand this. Soon (maybe already?) I'll be too old to have more children, and already the gap to my living children is large. But I'll trust you and obey...even if it's not what *I* want right now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Still stuck on my Bible memory verse...I got it right, but there was an n in front of my for, so nope, it's not right. God, why do I need to keep saying this verse????

Monday, September 24, 2007

The food stamp challenge

Could you live off a dollar a meal for a week? That's what the average funding level is for food stamps. You can argue about whether food stamps is supposed to provide for all of a family's food needs, and whether it's good to make people put some of their own money on the table, but the reality is that there are people who depend on food stamps and WIC as their only funding for food.

Those of us who have been blessed with more need to walk in someone else's shoes every once in a while. Some members of congress tried it recently. This isn't a good week for us to try it, since the premise is that you can't use any food in your house to begin with--our fridge is packed to the gills, so that wouldn't work this week.

So how far would $84 (3 meals a day x 4 people x 7 days) go for us? If it wasn't for our eating out budget, I think I could do it...but I'd have to think pretty hard about it. So indulge me while I think on line...

Breakfasts are easy--the kids always have cereal. It routinely goes on sale for $2/box, and I don't buy it if it's more than that. The labels say there are 12 servings in a box, but I know we eat more than the given serving size, so we'll round up to 3 boxes--that's $6. A gallon of milk is $2.99, so let's say $10 for the week.

We usually pack lunches. The adults get left overs and the kids get a sandwich, fruit, vegetable, and a treat or calcium source.
1 loaf of bread $2
1 jar PB $2
1 jar jelly $2
1 pkg lunch meat $2
1 lb grapes $2
2 lb bananas $2
3 lb bag apples $3
1 bag string cheese $3
veggies $4

Lunch total: $22.

That leaves $52 for dinner. That would be fine, but we usually have McD's on life group night ($10) and either our favorite Mexican restaurant or Pizza Hut ($25 if we drink water, which we usually do). That leaves $17 for 5 meals, and they need to be big enough for left overs...and I don't have snacks planned yet. I think we'll be eating at home and not out!

Meal 1: spaghetti ($1/box) with meat sauce (1/2 lb ground beef, $1) , salad (half a bag, $1.50), homemade bread (see baking list below) =$3.50
Meal 2: Breakfast for dinner: pancakes (from scratch, see baking list) with applesauce ($1) and scrambled eggs ($1.25) =$2.25
Meal 3: fiesta rice (1/2 c instant rice ($0.25), 1 can corn($0.50), 1 can black beans ($1), 1 can diced tomatoes with chili peppers ($0.75) with tortillas ($1) and salad (other half of bag, $1.50) =$5
Meal 4: Chinese: 1 c instant rice ($0.50), 1 lb meat (chicken, pork or whatever is on sale for less than $2/lb), 1 bag frozen stirfry veggies ($1.50) = $4
Meal 5: Hmm...can we eat out again? :) What else do I usually cook? Pasta ($1) with a bag of frozen veggies or veggies from our garden ($1.50) with shrimp, chicken, or sausage thrown in ($2) = $4.50
Meal 6: grilled cheese (1/2 loaf bread ($1), 4 slices cheese (0.50)), can of soup (0.50), 1 lb apples ($1), 1/2 bag salad ($1) = $4
Meal 7: homemade pizza (dough from baked goods below, left over spaghetti sauce, 1 pkg cheese ($2), 1 pkg pepperoni ($2), 1/2 red pepper (0.50) 1/2 bag salad ($1)=$5.50

Dinner total: $28.75. And I'll guarantee that though those are healthy meals, my crew will be hungry in an hour or two.

But wait...there are no drinks. We'd need another gallon of milk ($3), a 1/2 gallon of "my" (lactose free) milk ($4) a 1/2 gallon of oj ($1 if I make it from frozen) and a 1/2 gallon of crangrape ($2), so that's another $10.

And snacks? My kids always need snacks, at least 2/day. So what could I make with the remaining $13.25? I guess I'd bake! 5 lb flour ($1), 5 lb sugar ($1), baking soda ($0.50), margarine ($0.75), a box of oatmeal ($2) and a dozen eggs ($1.25) . I'd make oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, jelly muffins, or banana bread with any uneaten well as the pancakes and pizza crust in the dinner menu. So $6.50 for baking supplies.

That leaves $6.75 for other snacks. I'd buy a bag of pretzels ($2), a bag of kernel popcorn ($1), chocolate chips for the cookies :) ($1.75), and probably some more fruit ($2).

So we could do it, though we'd definitely be eating out a lot less, or not at all...if we ate out, there would be no snacks, no beverages, and the "skimpier" dinners. And I've got the economy of scale going--and kids eat less than adults, and I tend to watch for sales and stock up--but that's not really a luxury you'd have if you're eating a week at a time. I actually went to the USDA calculator site, and a family of 4 would actually get $73/week, not $84 (bye bye snacks and drinks). I have no idea how you'd do it as a single person.

So how about you? Could you make it on a dollar a meal? What would your meal plan look like? The poor have a special place in God's heart, and it's our duty to not only minister to them, but to align our lifestyles with theirs and advocate when we can. If you think the food stamp allowance should be increased, contact your representatives in congress and tell them--they're supposed to be representing us, so share what you think!

Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Arg! My memory isn't what it used to be...

I've been using the Bible Memory program at and really like it--I've learned 10 verses so far. One of the features that I like is that you have to get it right before you can move to the next "day", so a week could take you a month.

That seems to be my pace for the current verse--I think I'm on day 10 of this week (and there are only six "days" in each week!). I was SURE I had it today, but this is what the screen said...

You entered:
For where two or three come together in my name there I am with them

The correct verse is:
For where two or three come together in my name there am I with them

Matthew 18:20

Argh! First I was hung up on "gather together" instead of "come together. Then it was the "For". Don't I have the right "gist"? Isn't that good enough?

I guess the answer is NO. God's word is what it is, and it's not my job to change it. I'm also trying to sort out why I need to keep hearing this verse--how is "coming together" different from "gathering together"? He's got a lesson in there for me somewhere...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quarters in the soles of my shoes...

Tonight I started to put on my shoes, and discovered where the contents of my change jar went...Thanks, Henry and Harmony. Guess you thought I'd do some shopping on my run?

Guess that's life with preschoolers in the in my dryer, legos on the floor, dolls in my bed, quarters in my shoes...I wouldn't have it any other way!

Monday, September 17, 2007

That's why they call it research!

I feel like half of what I do in my research is look for things I've already looked know, re-search? Today it was:
Where's the sterile distilled water?
Where's the tape?
Where are the molecular weight markers?
Where is the skinny sharpie? All I can find are the thick ones, and they're too fat to write on the top of this lid.
Where's the sterile distilled water? (Oh yeah, I brought it to the DNA purification station.)
Where's my DNA?
Where'd I put the molecular weight markers?
Where is the fat sharpie? The skinny ones wear off the plates to easily
Where's the sterile distilled water? (Oh yeah, it's over at the gel station.)
And that was by 10 am...

The experiments go the same way:
Which fraction is my protein in?
Where are the yeast colonies with my DNA in it? Oops, I was supposed to put in 200 micrograms, not 200 wonder it didn't work, that was 10x too much, guess I'll be doing that experiment again...
Where'd I put that gel?
Did I put the right stuff in that tube?

You have to be persistent and an optimist to be a scientist...and it would help if I were more organized!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thankful Thursday, miscarriage edition

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Always, Continually, In All Things...that's a tall order. But I've decided that I need to give thanks for the good things God has brought out of my miscarriage.

Thanks, Lord, for making yourself very real to me during the miscarriage process.
Thanks for teaching me to treasure my living children more fully.
Thanks for the opportunity to be vulnerable with other Christians, leading to deeper relationships and a fuller knowledge of who they are.
Thanks for giving me a glimpse of what it means to sacrifice your child, and for Your Child to take on death for us.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to run the Indianapolis MiniMarathon...and for all the prayer time as I ran and prayed.
Thank you that you work everything together for the good of those who love you--I love you, so keep working it together :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yummy and random stuff

Just random stuff...
--Harmony has a new phrase--"Mom, this is just hill-ar-ee-ous!!" Then launches into a story. She talks non-stop when she's tired!
--Henry convinced Pappaw to duct tape two of his light sabers together to make one like Darth Maul's. I'm waiting for him to break something with them--good thing he knows the rule is outside only!
--We made some really good chocolate sorbet (I used low fat coconut milk for the water--it turned out REALLY GOOD but not very coconutty). If you want to start drooling, check out the ice cream recipes on this blog. I think I'm going to be using the ice cream maker some more!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Empty arms

I'm having an "empty arms" day today. If I hadn't miscarried, I'd be due soon, and since it was twins, they probably would have come around now. It really hit me at church today, what life would have been like...the family room converted to a nursery, holding a sweet newborn, trying to figure out how to nurse two, how to pay attention to Henry and Harmony, wondering how they'd react, how we'd manage everything... My head knows that what happened was for the best, there are things I wouldn't have been able to do or lessons I wouldn't have learned if I hadn't miscarried, but my heart still has to mourn these things.

It doesn't help that I think I'm hitting a midlife crisis a little early--the whole experience has me feeling like my biological usefulness is over, and given my age, that might be true.

God, all I can say is that I trust you.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Who am I?

Yup, it's week 7 of the I you don't have to be study. They're starting another round, so if you didn't join, here's your chance!

When we last left the ranch, Moses had just met God in a burning bush on the far side of the wilderness. God has asked him to go and tell Pharoah to let His people go.

This week we're looking at Moses's response in Exodus 3:11: But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

What strikes me most about God's response is: it's not about you, it's about me. It doesn't matter what your qualifications are, because I'll be with you. How easily we get stuck on ME and what I can do, and forget that we're just the instrument, it's really all about GOD and what HE can do.

How would you answer the questions, "Who Am I?"
Unlike Moses I suffer from having too many titles--mom, wife, professor, Kid's church teacher...some days I wonder who I am if I scrape off all those titles. I think I'm having a bit of an early midlife crisis--who am I anyway?

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt inadequate because of your lack of a 'tagline'?
No, but I've recently been in some meetings where it's obvious that God is grooming me for something, because I am definitely the youngest and least credentialed person at the table. It's intimidating, and my gut response is to withdraw. But God's put me there for a I just have to figure out what that reason is.

How are you with your dialogue vs. doubt conversations with God? Which does God hear most from you?

I'm afraid I sound more like my kids when they're whining than I'd like to...why can't I stay at home? Why do I have to do research? Why won't my body do what I want it to? Why can't I...blah blah blah. What I've got to remember is that it's not about me, it's about what God can do through me, and to just get over myself.

Thanks God, that you promise to be with us, and that's all we need to do your work. Help me to look past myself and trust you with the tasks you've put before me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

God definitely uses my devotions

I'll let you read it yourself. God's timing is as always, amazing.

Wordless Wednesday--Crazy things in my town...

Check out the rates...a penny is 6 minutes, a nickel is 30 minutes, and a DIME is the biggest denomination the meter takes! And yes, they're still enforced--the fine is $2 :) How they can afford to enforce them, I don't know...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

More is better, right?

Patrick called me from the farmer's market on Saturday--"Do you want me to pick up some peaches and corn?"

Sounds good to me...but he comes home with a baker's dozen of EACH. To me, "some" means three or four, not 13! And to add injury, every single ear of corn had silk worms--ew. But Henry and Harmony helped me husk them and I cut off the wormy parts...and now we'll be eating corn and peaches all week :) Anyone want some?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Henry's version of Star Wars

Henry is very into Star Wars today...despite never seeing any of the movies. His stories are based on what he's seen on Cheese Nips boxes (his first introduction to Star Wars), Wierd Al Yankovic's Yoda song, packages and inserts from Star Wars toys he's gotten, and stories he's heard from his friends.

His stories are pretty interesting--Princess Leia is a dog, Luke is his dad, Obi Won Kenobi died in a battle with Darth Vader...and if you try to correct the facts, you're met with a "nuh-huh, So-and-so said so," where so-and-so is someone with about as much Star Wars knowledge as he has.

While it's sometimes humorous to see what stories he invents (like needing to say a Bible verse before beginning a light "saver" duel), it reminds me that if I want to know the facts, I should go to the source. I've found a really good devotional I like at Proverbs31 and Mourning into Dancing, but it reminds me that I need time in the Word myself, not relying on what others tell me. I'll still keep reading them--they do a great job of pointing me to things I need to address in my life and modeling what my quiet time should look like, but I need the source, too. I'm glad that I get passages e-mailed to me every day from a Bible in a Year plan.

Thanks for your Word, Lord, and that I can hear it directly from You.