Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Days

Ahhhhh! Summer! Lazy days, watermelon, swimming, sunburns, weekly reader, homemade ice cream and HEAT...HOT HOT HOT. Geez I remember growing up in Phx where we ran around all day with no shoes. The sidewalks were so hot they say you could fry an egg on them! But we did it anyway...skipping from yard to walk or any patch of grass we could find yelping ouch! ouch! ouch! all the way to the Circle K on the corner. It was worth it, though, looking for pop bottles we could turn into the store to buy penny candy: black licorice, bazooka, and red hot fireballs. After the clerk assessed our finds and made a fair exchange we hopped and ran home cramming as many sticks of black licorice into our mouths as we could at one time. Our teeth and tongue would be blaaaaaack! The finish line was a mad dash into the back yard and a jump into the pool. Then it was a race to see who could hold their breath the longest under water or who could swim down to the drain and back up the fastest.  At the end of the day we would come inside with sunburned shoulders and a bright red nose.
 Oooo those were the days....I sound like someones grandma! penny candy, pop bottles, weekly readers?
I can't believe how time flys. My childhood is becoming more vague as I get older and the freshest memories are when my children were little. You are a child for such a small part of your life. If we only could of grasped that then, we probably wouldn't have been in such a hurry to grow up.
The Bible tells us to come as a little child into the Kingdom of God. Why do you suppose He requests that of us? Could it be the trusting faith that a small child has and the full dependence on his guardian? Or is it the joy that comes with being  free from responsibility! Maybe its because we are wide-eyed and full of wonder, ever so curious and teachable.... Maybe its because our countenance is so adorable and peaceful...maybe its because we love unconditionally.Could it be that we are less inhibited...we will sing or dance or draw a picture with no critical afterthought.
God knew when He created us that these first years of life would be a model for us to believe, trust and love a Heavenly Father. He says He can do all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him. What is impossible with men is possible with God. He will never leave us or forsake us. Can I believe Him? The One who got down on His knees and shaped man from the dust of the earth and then breathed life into him? Every other created thing was spoken but God knelt down and formed man, then gave man his very life through His own breath.  He is the epitome of a Father. What  your earthly father was unable to give Jesus can more than give you.  Help me to be as a little child.
My children are grown but I now have grandchildren to remind me of a small child's innocent attributes. With much patience, love and just the enjoyment of delighting in their very presence, I understand more this time around about how the Father sees me. I do not get angry when my grandchildren throw a fit or don't share or look at me with that "I didn't do it" look. I just redirect and then mostly smile and think to myself about the preciousness of their very existence and their responses to my overwhelming love for them. I've built a relationship with them and they can trust me, love me and just have fun with me. I am never disappointed in their behaviour or their attempts to vie for my attention. I just plain love them. I can see the unique gifts and talents already revealing themselves through their play and interests and encourage them in that direction. It is God's beautiful opportunity to remind me of His love and relationship with me!
Matt. 19:14 "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven"
1 Kings 3:7b ... I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 3:9 Therefore give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Turning 60

This birthday I will be turning 60. Oh my! It makes me feel like a real grandma. But you know 60 is the new 40! I loved my 40's! It was the best decade of my life thus far.
I've talked to many women who didn't like turning 30, 40, 50 or 60! For me 30 was hard because at the time I was out shopping with my 16 year old niece. The body image in the mirror, as we tried on clothes,  was already manifesting its age. Ha! Ha! I laugh now. What was it I saw? It couldn't have been anything like what I see in the mirror now!
At 40 my husband threw me a surprise birthday party. The restaurant was filled with many of our long time friends and I was absolutely surprised when I walked in the door. So surprised I almost threw up. I really don't like surprises at all! Shouldn't he know that by now? Part of the party plan was to take video shots of friends sharing stories of my relationship with them over the years. When I reviewed the clips after the party  I had a shocking eye-opener! Almost every story( not all but most) were more about my husband and "Our" relationship with "Our" friends than about me and my relationships. Mrs. Introvert was there in the shadow of her Mr. Extrovert, relational, life-of-the party husband ...I love that guy! Well it opened my eyes for the good! My 40's was a decade of discovering myself and my talents. I was not going to have another birthday without me knowing who I was or without You knowing who I am, for that matter.
 By the time I turned 50 I was ready to plan my own party with 50 girlfriends, a karaoke machine and just a whole lot of fun. With the help of a couple of friends(Anita and Pam, my headlight dancin buddies) we actually pulled it off. We dressed up in 50's costume and danced and sang...just us girls, all night long.
Turning 60... I don't have any plans yet. I'm leaning more towards visiting my son in NC that week. He's having his first child in Dec. and just started a new job. I want to see my daughter-in-law in her first months of pregnancy. I want to see where they live. It's going to be hard having a long distance relationship with my newest grandchild. I haven't had to do that yet. Turning 60...I think I am more like a grandma....but I still love to dance, have fun, hang out with my girlfriends and just live life! For now... I still have 10 weeks and 3 days left to be 59! Happy dance!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

One Million Pillow Cases

I've heard of pillow case dresses for little girls in Africa, but my gorgeous grandma friend, grandma D.(first one on the right) shared about an opportunity to send pretty pillow cases to people in Africa or to any charity you are interested in:
Visit this tutorial for supplies and step by step instructions!
Here's how we made them:

We got together one more time and made more because it was so easy and so much fun!
Good job, Gorgeous Grandmas!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Opposite of Love is not Hate

Just because you believe something to be true does not make it true. Our culture plays an enormous role on what we decide is truth and what we decide is acceptable. Untruth plays no role in a culture of indifference.

Love is.......You fill in the blank. It would probably range from anything starting with an "a" to a "z". How about Aunt Betty, boyfriend, chocolate, dog, etc., farming, grandchildren, and so on. It is usually based on how we feel about those things. It if makes me feel good it must be love!
Is love a verb, an adjective, adverb or noun? Mmmmm maybe you would argue that it is all of them. I know one is not in itself a feeling. It certainly can bring good feelings and pain. In fact, pain is what enables us to know the incredible joy and freedom when love gives those good feelings. But love is a commitment and out of the commitment comes the
Marriage, children, relationships in general, what's good for our bodies and minds, our community as a whole and our world can depend on how we view love.
If it is based on what makes me feel good it will run its own course only to lead to selfishness and ultimately destruction (divorce, disease, lawlessness, addiction). If it is a commitment based on caring for others and myself it will create a  freeing expression of self worth.

I don't think anyone will argue that when I choose to serve someone else or care for someone it ultimately comes back as that good feeling. But what if I have to speak into someones life who is making poor choices or withhold a privilege because someone has wandered off the path, or express my concern knowing that person will not agree and even hold it against me, then the feeling can be painful even to the point of questioning myself. Did I do the right thing, who am I to tell someone else what to do?
The check list is....  did I do it out of love?
 Love cares, love wants the best, love is ready to lay its reputation on the line, love sacrifices.
The opposite of love is indifference.(why should I get it involved, its their life, its not hurting anyone)

I'll never understand why people don't accept the sacrifice Jesus did on the cross. He did it out of love for us. Why wouldn't anyone want to trust someone who would love so much He would die?  It wasn't indifference for Him.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

cupcake in a jar- a perfect valentine gift

The grandmas got together to make cupcakes in a jar. I thought it sounded quite clever and besides I have so many canning jars that I have collected over the years. I'm not doing much canning these days so why not cupcakes in a jar. Some of the reviews were quite negative...why bother...whats wrong with a cupcake liner.....who wants to take the time to go to all that trouble.
It was no trouble and in fact it was quite easy. A great idea for a valentines gift for someone you love.
There are several web sites you can go to to get all kinds of inspirations. Martha Stewart even has a cheese cake in a jar. It was my favorite.
For a cupcake in jar you will need one cake mix prepared according to directions. Icing of your choice and a canning jar. You can bake the cupcake in the jar in the oven which takes about 45 minutes at 350 or you can pop it into the microwave for 2 mins. The microwave version helps to retain the color of the cake mix and still remains moist and delicious. I prefer this method.
After the cupcake cools slightly scoop out about half of the cake. Spread icing inside the jar on top of the cake and then add the scooped out cake back in. Spread again with icing and then decorate.
This cupcake has a layer of nutella and a layer of cheese cake frosting over red velvet cake.
Attach a spoon to the side and cover with cellophane. Add a bow and you have a sweet treat for a friend.
Cupcakes can actually be mailed if they arrive in 3 days.

To make a cheese cake in a jar you need :
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 4 oz. sour cream, room temp
  • 1 tbl lemon juice fresh
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup preserves
  •  graham topping- 4 graham crackers ground and 1 1/2 tbl. butter melted
Preheat oven to 325. Beat cream cheese til smooth,add sugar. Beat on high for 3mins.
add one egg at a time on low speed. Add sour cream, lemon juice, and salt. Beat for 3 mins.
Divide batter in 6- 6oz jars. Put jars in deep baking dish and add boiling water to the baking dish about half way up the jar. Put a piece of aluminum foil with 8 slits on top over jars and baking dish.
Bake for 25 mins or until center is set. Let cool. Refrigerate overnight to set.
Stir grahams and butter together and spread on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Cook at 325 for 10mins and let cool.
Top each cheesecake with a little more than a tbl of preserves, then graham topping. Can be refrigerated up to 4 days.

 My grandma friend "YaYa" tried making a pie in a jar. Ya Ya is an expert pie maker and suggested not to waste your time making it in a jar. Reasons why....manipulating the dough too much makes for a tough crust and not much room for the filling which makes it a crusty pie. Thanks Ya Ya for saving thousands of "ya ya's" from "pie in a jar" frustration!

All in all cupcakes in a jar are a fun way to give a unique gift to someone you love. Hey your kids and grandkids can help make them too!

Monday, January 16, 2012

tomatoes all winter long

I'm really not the best gardener. In fact, I dubbed myself the lazy gardener. I love having a garden. My favorite part...picking the fruit of my labor. "Of my labor" that's the part where I have assigned the adjective "lazy". I don't know why once you pull weeds they don't stay away, why you have to retill the ground after each harvest, and why do you have to fight with aphids and birds and other crawling kinds of things that enjoy munching on your hard work?! O yea and composting. Whats wrong with just throwing everything into a pot and leaving it? Why do you have to turn it and keep it moist? My true confessions? That's the way I do things! 
I leave my compost to do its own thing, I do pull weeds when the Spirit moves me and usually my husband is the one who tills the ground. If I have a problem with birds, I whine to my husband and bugs and things can eat as much as they like:) Hey, my garden does alright. I still am reaping tomatoes this winter.
In Arizona you can garden pretty much all year round. But I have never been able to continue to pick tomatoes in the winter. I do believe God likes me. He has prospered my garden despite my "laziness". I have had more volunteer plants(ones you don't plant yourself) come up than I know what to do with...tomatoes, flowers, melons and such. Its really quite amazing. I look out my window and smile at the garden despite my lack of care.
I wish I was more into detail, more of a person of excellence. I wish my garden was perfect so when visitors came over they would say" O My! How beautiful is your garden!" But I'm not.
 In the Song of Solomon, a book in the Bible, the garden  represents our hearts. This is a book that draws us into an understanding of our love relationship with Jesus.  In chapter 4 :16 it says" Awake, o north winds, And come o south! Blow upon my garden. That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruit. "
You see, we all have a garden to keep. Its our hearts. We have weeds that need to be pulled, we have soil that needs to be tilled and we have pests that want to come in and destroy the tenderness of our fruit.
We need to feed and nurture our garden with good food so we will flourish and produce more good fruit.
Of course, the beautiful part is you can have a Master gardener who can perfect your garden even if you aren't so gifted in that area. He knows when to send the cold north winds(times of trial and testing) and when to bring the warm south winds(times of growth and fruit). He knows how to release the hidden aromas of your heart so all will reap the benefits of your fruit. He desires a place to come into your garden to sit with you and enjoy you. He delights in you! He will partner with you to create a beautiful garden! Whew! I don't have to be perfect, He is. I don't have to be all that excellent, He is! Because Jesus is jealous for you He will pursue you passionately so that He will have a place to dwell. All He desires is a volunteer lover.

"You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice-Let me hear it! song of solomon 8:13