Wednesday, February 29, 2012

now lie in it

i like to help people. it feels good.

i like to align myself with a cause. i feel good about myself.

as long as the people are deserving. and the cause is worthy.

what if it isn't? what if the one in need is a teen mom or the cause is those incarcerated for their misdeeds?

today i heard the story of the good samaritan again. of course it stirred compassion inside me. for the sick. the impoverished. the orphans in africa. kids with cancer. make a wish. ronald mcdonald house. operation christmas child.

those are all good things. i have participated in them all and will continue to do so. but what if the person laying bloody and half dead in the ditch
did it to themselves? what if they aren't innocent. what if they aren't a victim of anything but their own poor choices? if i help them, won't it condone their behavior? won't they most likely end up in the ditch again?

today i was thinking maybe it doesn't matter. today i was challenged to marinate in the truth that i am that bloody, helpless, half-dead individual. and even more true is the fact that
i did it to myself. if there was ever a time to say "you made your bed, now lie in it" it was the moment Christ looked at me. if anyone were so perfect and anyone so sinful it was him and me. i couldn't even promise him that i'd do better next time. that i wouldn't end up run into a ditch again. i couldn't clean up, get a job, and show that i was ready for assistance. i couldn't do anything.

people that need help are often messy. addiction, mental illness, homelessness, foster care...they are not cut and dry like a disease who ravages an "innocent victim". there is no racing for a "cure" or no dollar amount to "sponsor" someone out of their needy state. but as a messy person in need of help because of my own foolishness i am so glad Jesus didn't pass by. and now i hope i will stop. and have compassion. especially when it is "undeserved".

Sunday, February 26, 2012

congo bars

i have a confession to make. i have been hiding something from you. it is truly the best recipe i have, and in all my years of blogging, i've never let you in on the secret. i feel tremendous amounts of guilt over this, so to alleviate this problem i present...

this is typed directly from my mom's recipe box. oleo, you say? yes, oleo. it's what people in the midwest call butter. please don't ask why. just soften up some of that yellow stuff that comes in a stick and throw it in a bowl with everything else.
yes. just one bowl. i told you this is the best recipe.
don't forget the chocolate chips

of course, this is the most difficult step so you will need someone to help by emptying every single bowl, pan, and lid out of the cabinet.after you've incorporated the morsels dump the blob of dough onto a large shallow pan. you can be fancy and butter a baggie or you can just use your "oleo" wrapper and push the dough down. think along the lines of rice krispie treats. just spread it out best you can into a thin layer. no scooping. no pan after pan of dough balls in the oven. just dump, spread and bake.

bake 15-20 minutes and as you can see i very scientifically did the "toothpick check" to assure proper done-ness.

these are DELICIOUS and so much easier than making chocolate chip cookies. very little work. very few dishes. and very large payoff.

you're welcome.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

the Jesus tree

remember how we do the jesse tree for advent? well, when i saw a blogger doing a "Jesus tree" for lent, it was as if i had no choice but to start one for our family.

what i enjoy about these traditions in particular is how they are small, daily, reminders of the season we are in. they don't take much money or time, but i know they are the things my boys will remember as they grow.

the "ornaments" were free printables i simply cut out with my circle punch. i threaded a ribbon and now we have a concept and scripture reading starting with ash wednesday and the fall (genesis 3) all the way until resurrection sunday. to store our "ornaments" i just taped some paper around an old peanut can and tied a ribbon to make it a bit prettier. i look forward to our tree filling up as our hearts are filled with the reflection and truth of this season.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

mommy's little helper

parenting. i've been at it for over nine years and still, i don't feel any more skilled than the day i became a mama. one thing i have learned, though, is it takes creativity. a lot of it. it takes humor too. i don't have much of the latter, but sometimes i can come up with creative ideas outside of the usual....yelling, ineffective timeouts, empty threats, and ever popular "i'm serious!"

last week noah had a day off of school and we had guests coming into town the next day so i HAD to go to the grocery store with him and judah. i usually am an expert at dodging this predicament, but there was no way around it that day. i've tried lots of grocery store options. there is the ever popular bribe, or as we like to call it "treat for being mommy's helper". i have also tried giving my children their own "grocery list", creating sticker games for them to play in the cart, and once even made a grocery store scavenger hunt. none of these have completely squelched the whining, the begging, or the general darting into the line of oncoming cart traffic.

so why would i try something new? why would i think anything else may help this nightmare that is grocery shopping with children? well, parenting also takes a bit of delusion and denial and so i threw my hat in the ring yet again and tried ANOTHER idea.

it worked.

who would've thought that bringing your own shopping cart would give a boy such purpose and focus that he would not see all the brightly colored sugar coated packages screaming for his attention? that it would put an end to all whining and complaining and actually make the experience a bit of fun? i certainly could not have predicted this success. or do i ever expect it to repeat itself. but, i do celebrate the one day we went to the grocery store without incident because that, my friends, is worth celebrating. and remembering. noah brings it up almost every day. it may just be one of those memories that lasts into adulthood. and that was worth lugging yet another thing into the trunk on grocery day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

the woo girl

it's 7:30 on a friday night. i am in my comfies, in bed, ready for an exciting hour of checking blogs, cruising facebook and maybe catching an episode on netflix before going to sleep. is this what young women dream of? perhaps not. but i am truly "living the dream" and i know it.

my husband drives a pedicab. he has for over two years now. this means he is on the streets of "bricktown" (the hot spot in okc) every friday and saturday night until the bars close. he is in the middle of all the action, the center of the nightlife, but he isn't participating. he sees things from the perspective of an observer. and what he has been a witness to over time is quite interesting.

every weekend it's the same. there hasn't been one exception. as the night begins the excitement is palpable. the girls are dressed to the nines. the guys are high with anticipation. there's bachelor parties. bachelorette groups. every one is laughing, smiling. there is an energy that is full of life and of hope for what will be. there's lot's of drinking, celebrating, dancing, flirting, and general appearance of fun.

and every weekend it's the same. there hasn't been one exception. the bars start to close and as the night wore on things have changed. the guys are disgruntled. disappointed. rough with each other, and with the girls. the ladies aren't looking so hot anymore as they stumble over curbs and have to rely on a friend to hold their hair as they vomit in the street. some are being harassed by men. some are left alone as their friends have abandoned them for hopes of something more. there are always people fighting, shouting, staggering, and always those that are crying.

every weekend it's the same. there hasn't been one exception. everyone goes home. the disappointment is palpable. everyone came looking for something. no one found it. not this weekend. not last weekend. and they have a sneaking suspicion they won't find it next weekend either.

i'm not out on the weekends. i'm not looking for anything. i've already found it. although it looks like a lot of fun to wear stylish clothes, do my hair and makeup, and "party"...i know that all those girls want and search for every friday and saturday night, i already have. with every "woo" they holler, i hear their pain and their longing. every weekend it's the same.

and so i say thanks. thanks be to God for the gift that is my life. "boring" weekends and all.