Monday, May 23, 2011

Couple Dating Without Coupling??

Every married couple should spend quality alone time.  This is completely true.  You need to date each other.  You need to dress up and go to dinner without the kids, without the dog, without asking him if he remembered to pay the gas bill.... When you spend day in and day out being mom and dad as well as hard working employees, it is hard to remember to be the person your other half fell madly in love with in the first place.    You are sitting across from the person that can answer the questions about the doctor's appointment, the car payment, the insurance policy.  You would never discuss these things when you were first dating.  Date night is not the place to discuss them now.  Date night is about remembering who you fell in love with...

I'll let you in on a little secret though... Sometimes it is easy to remember who you were and who your spouse was when there are other people to interact with.  You see your hubby laugh or he reachs for your hand as he tells a funny story about a trip you took and BAM!  There's that spark again! This is what you want! This is what date night needs to be from time to time... definitely not all the time though.  Spend time alone too!

Finding a compatible couple to date is hard when you are married.  Either you can easily banter for hours with the wife but your hubby has absolutely nothing to say to your new found friend's husband or vice versa. We've all been there.  Couples date other couples trying to find the right combination and someone always ends up settling for a less than perfect fit, because it is really hard to find two totally compatible people who mesh well with you.  It's important to keep looking though.

Yesterday, two of my married friends asked if I would consider being half of their couple date couple.  Ummmm... I am not married, so I was a little unsure of where this was going. They have found the perfect solution though.  Brandi and I are great friends; her husband and I have a lot in common and I consider him a good friend as well. We all three mesh well, have a lot in common, and enjoy each other's company. Another single male in the church also gets along great with both of them and with me. We would make the perfect foursome as long as we are not required to date each other. I have been married; I do not want to go back down that road.  He has been married and is still very much in the healing stages while trying to raise three young children on his own. Hallmark would have us falling for each other...  I think we'll stick to dinner and game nights though.

Isn't it great when you can fix the problem simply by tweaking the boundaries?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And Then You Get Back On...

I've always been told that when a horse throws you off, you must get back on again; if your heart gets broken, then there's another, even more perfect person waiting for you; if a door shuts, a window opens. I beleive all these pithy sayings, and therefore, I am back on.  I have not written in over a week.  I have missed stopping to put words on paper or a computer screen as it were. Life has been incredibly busy.

My doctorate classes have begun, and I am reading about a gazillion fascinating things. The brain is amazing, and the fact that one small part orchestrates everything is pretty cool to me. Human Resources was my first career, so it has been nice to revisit it as I read my required chapters and prepare to write, write, write. Curriculum is my current obsession, so I am excited to explore it in detail.  I love learning new things! I may even share a few things with you along the way.

Tomorrow is Class Day.  Taylor will march in as a senior in his cap and gown.  Tears will flow.  Maybe.. I'll even blog about it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Would You Have Stopped?

Turn on the television, and you quickly become depressed.  There is war... there is always war.  There are also natural disasters, murders, robberies, political corruption, name a crime and it is well covered. Humanity exists though.  I wanted to reassure you of this fact in case you have watched too many news stories as of late. Sometimes you have to look closely.  True human kindness abounds all around us.  We have to pay attention; we need to be the ones offering the kindness at times.

Tonight, on the way to meet friends for dinner, I noticed a plumbing service truck pull off the side of the road. Then, the cars going in either direction stopped.  My mind thought "wreck", but then, I noticed the driver of the truck bend down and walk stooped over to the middle of the road.  He was trying to pick up a small daschund that was running around in the middle of the busy road, obviously playing a game of keep away with this man.  After a few minutes with no success, the man got back in his truck and drove away.  He wasn't trying to capture HIS pet; he was trying to save someone else's pet.  How nice, I thought.  Traffic began to creep forward; no one wanted to hit the dog that was now playing on the side of the road for the most part.  Then, another car (not part of the original line) pulled over and the driver began to try to catch the dog.  Traffic stopped in both directions as this man tried to wrangle the pup. No luck, but he did succeed in getting the dog to run into a neighborhood away from the busy road. A third vehicle driven by a lady drove slowly beside the dog with her window down talking to the dog. She must have known where he lived and was leading him back home. Someone's pet is alive tonight because not one or two, but three people stopped along a busy road to make sure this little puppy did not die. How incredible is that?

If I had seen the dog before the first vehicle stopped, I would have thought to myself that I hoped the dog didn't get hit and drove on.  I had plans; I was not going to stop; I was not going to get involved. I would have been wrong.

The Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan tells us that we are to help each other regardless of what is going on. Yet, we seldom do.  How many other things - things much more significant than a dog playing on the side of a busy road - have I overlooked because I didn't want to be involved? I need to open my eyes and slow down.   I need to make a difference, no matter how small...

Would you have stopped??

Sunday, May 8, 2011

You Know The Places Where Your Memory Lives..

If I were to ask you what your alma mater looks like, you could tell me. You might now choose the obvious details that outsiders would choose; you are not an outsider.  You know the inside scoop, the hidden places.  The spots that make the school.

 I wanted to include a photo in each graduation announcement that Taylor sent out to his friends and family.  This is an area called the cave.. it is a back walkway between buildings at his school. I never knew this existed, but then again, I didn't attend school here.. I think the picture captured an artsy feel but it's not the picture I chose to include because you cannot see Taylor face.
 This is one of a group of large rocks at the bottom of the parking lot. Again, I never knew these existed as an outsider to his school.  It was our first stop.  This is Taylor's school... he knew where to go for cool shots.  This is great and feels very much like Taylor, but I didn't choose it either because you can't see his face well.
This is in front of Taylor's school.  It's the pickup area.  This I knew.  I've walked through these doors for school programs, meetings, to sign him out.  You can see his face.  I did include this in the announcement along with several other shots.  I finally decided that one picture wasn't enough.

Think about your house, your church, or your school.. Where are the special places that memories live that an outsider wouldn't know about?

Wonder Why Disney Killed All The Mothers?

There are no mothers in the Disney classics.  Go ahead.. run through the movies in your head..  I'll wait here.  Yes, Bambi had a mother, but she was killed.  She was the one and only death of a positive figure in a Disney movie until Mufassa died in The Lion King. Have you sifted through them all and realized that there are no mothers?

I wonder if Walt Disney's childhood was scarred by a horrible mother or if he knew that none of the perils that the princesses would be forced to endure would happen if a mother was around? My guess is the second one. The stories would not have worked.  Bambi's mother protected him, so she had to go to progress the story. Cinderella would have never have been forced to work more than to do her fair share of chores; Snow White's mother would have been thrilled that her daughter was the fairest of them all. Ariel's mom would have figured out a way for her to be a girl for a while without losing her voice; Belle's mother would have made her husband a famous inventor so Belle wouldn't have been lost in the woods and taken to the Beast's castle. Moms celebrate their children, love their children, protect their children..  The stories that Disney made his millions from telling simply would not work if a mother was present. A mother's love changes everything.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms reading!  May you live happily ever after.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Motherhood Should Come With A Warning..

The day Taylor was born was peaceful and calm and fun.  You wouldn't think those would be the words I would choose considering the fact that both of us almost died during his delivery; however, I remember being so excited to meet this little baby that I had carried inside my body for the last nine months and inside my dreams since I was a little girl. He was in distress and was born without a heartbeat, without a pulse, without a cry.  He fought to live, and is the wonderfully tall young future Marine that brightens my life daily.

I remember the moment I was first allowed to hold him, this dream come true.  My heart expanded.  I tell people that and they look at me strangely, and yet, it is true.  My heart grew the moment I first held Taylor.  I understood love.  I knew complete and utter devotion.  I knew that my heart would never again be mine. I was a mother.

Yes, my friends, motherhood should come with a warning... You will never again be you; you will be a mom.

Guest Blog Spot

I'm new to blogging as most of you know.  I started for Lent and have continued because it brings me joy, a place to share the many ponderings and adventures of my life.  I also read different blogs from around cyberspace. The best way to build readers for your blog is to read and comment on other blogs afterall.

One of the blogs I follow is Small Fry & Co, a crafting blog.  She offers ideas and how-tos for creating all kinds of wonderful things.  This week she has ran a series of guest blogs featuring other creative moms and new bloggers.  I am featured creative mom #7!! It is the posting I did regarding the chocolate Easter basket.  Check it out and check out the great ideas from all the truly crafty moms!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sometimes Shortcuts Will Cost You

We are all in a hurry these days.  Society as a whole is dependent on convenience items. People work so hard and play so hard that we are constantly looking for a shortcut, an easier way.  Be careful though.  Those shortcuts will cost you.

On the news yesterday, the financial news reporter warned that Hertz rentals is now charging $9/gallon for gasoline if you do not return the rental car with a completely full gas tank. $9/gallon! Is it really worth the extra $5- $6/gallon to not pump gas?  I don't think so; I bet lots of people end up paying the price though either for convenience sake or because the gas is being charged to their company expense account. Regardless of who pays, it's not a shortcut that you should take.

When I heard the report yesterday, I thought to myself who is lazy enough to pay the extra money rather than to spend the time pumping gas? Today, I realized that I was guilty of a similar thing without even thinking about it. My first doctoral program classes begin May 16th.  When I registered for classes, there was an option to order my textboks online.  I clicked the button to avoid the search for the books, to sit in my chair rather than stand in lines, to simply have them sent to me in sturdy cardboard boxes straight to my door.  They haven't arrived yet, and I am ready to start reading.  I clicked on Amazon to see if the book that the first assignment was available there.  It was.  One click and it arrived on my beloved Kindle for $15 cheaper than the original book that I had ordered.  Hmmmm.... I started typing the titles of the other books, and I had wasted a lot of money simply by clicking that easy button.  I called and canceled my bookstore order.  I re-ordered the books from Amazon and saved almost $300... That's a beach trip, a shopping spree, a webcam for my computer...  It was about to be wasted money...  That shortcut would have cost me. 

What shortcut have you taken lately without even thinking about it? Did it save you time and money or cost you???

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Only Thing To Fear Is Fear Itself..

Our house was robbed in September. The thieves shattered the glass doors and took everything of value in the house while Taylor and I were at school. My engagement ring that I hoped to pass down - gone. My grandmother's pins and brooches that she wore in the 1930s - gone. The guns that Taylor had worked and saved - gone.  The electronics - gone.  They took it all, but the worse thing that was stolen that day is my sense of security.  Someone had invaded our home, our safe haven, our sanctuary... would I ever feel safe here again?

God is amazing!  He took this horrible event and used it to show me how loved and blessed Taylor and I are. My best friend, sister, and niece showed up to help me put the house back together.  My brother-in-law installed new doors even though he was exhausted from work.  People prayed for us.  Friends, family of friends, and co-workers donated money to help us replace the essential elements.  Electronics are a necessity if you have a teenager afterall. I began to feel safe again.

Last night, when Taylor arrived home, there was a note attached to our door.  It was on torn computer paper; it was unsigned.  It was addressed to me and said they hoped I would be home "the next time we visit"...  The word visit was in quotation marks.  I have no idea who left the note.  My hope is that it was left by a student who figured out which house was mine and thought it would be a funny thing to do.  Friends feel it may be a threat; the police seem to not think so. I am scared again.

Taylor described the feeling best at dinner.  He said when he came home the day of the robbery and saw the glass everywhere, he felt physically sick.  His stomach clenched, his neck was tight, and he developed a massive headache.  Yesterday, he felt the same way.  It's not the note itself; it's the loss of innocence that the reaction to it signifies. The robbers took away our ability to see the note as anything other than a threat.

I love this house.  I want it to go back to being my sanctuary for when the world is a bit much. I want to rewind time to before the robbery, so I feel safe again. FDR told Americans that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  I believe in that statement; I  wish the fear wasn't as palpable as it is right now. I know that God will protect us and keep us safe.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just Ducky Cupcakes

The youngest daughter of my best friend turns ten tomorrow. To celebrate, Donna decided to make cupcakes to send to school.  Ten is a BIG birthday... ordinary cupcakes would not do, so we made ones that look like rubber duckys.  Isn't it amazing what moms do for their children?

The cupcakes turned out so cute!  You should give them a try.

 Start by baking cupcakes as you normally would.  Allow them to cool.  Then apply a thin coating of white frosting.
Since these are shaped cupcakes, you will need to add a few things to help create the duck shape.  The process is super easy.  Simply cut marshmallows in half, and add one half to the back of each cupcake to form the tail.  To form the head, add a glazed doughnut hole.  Fill in the areas in between the two pieces with extra frosting. 
 The cupcakes should look like the picture to the left at this point.  Place them in the freezer for 15 minutes so they can set up.  This makes them easier to handle and dip. Don't worry if they look a little weird at this stage.  The next few steps will fix any imperfections.

Take white frosting and add food coloring to achieve a bright yellow color or if you are lucky, buy colored frosting.  Microwave this for 45 seconds or until it reachs the consistency of whipped cream.
 Dip the frozen cupcake in the heated frosted to coat the shape.

Use a knife to insure the whole form is coated.

Allow the forms to set up until firm.
 Now it's time to make the duck come alive with personality!  It needs a face! The eyes are brown miniature M & Ms.  The beak is an orange Starburst fruit chew cut in half, pressed into an oval, and folded in half. Add to head.

 Each ducky looks completely different.  A couple of tips... Be careful making the beaks. Donna gave me much grief because I wanted to make the beaks massive... which made them fall off like Daffy Duck in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. You need to add a small dot of white icing before adding the eyes to give it a little depth.  Go have fun!  Your children will think you are incredibly cool for taking the time to make these rather than running to the bakery.

Our children are only young once.  Take time to make memories like this.... before you know it, it will be time for the next half of your life...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bite-sized Goodness

One of Taylor's favorite meals is beans and corn bread. It's easy to make; you simply allow the beans to cook in a slow cooker during the day and then, make a cake of corn bread.  Taylor will snack on the corn bread for the next couple of days.  He loves my corn bread; I love knowing that I make something he enjoys like I enjoyed my grandmother's famous biscuits. Tonight, I gave the cornbread a twist though.

Taylor and I attended an auction this afternoon.  While Taylor bought six fishing rods and antique fishing gear, I bought a box overflowing with baking pans.  There were muffins tins of all sizes, cakes pans in various shapes, and even an apple corer for pies. The tins made me want to bake, so I did. I made 36 mini corn muffins and 30 brownie bites. They were delicious!


Taylor ate a bowl containing half a dozen without any beans to go with them.  I ate three myself and shared another three with Bella, who proceeded to gobble them down and then, toss out all of her dog food looking for more. YUM!

Change is good! Taylor loves my regular corn bread, but he also loved these mini corn muffins. Switching things up helps us break out of ruts.  Which of your favorite recipes can you switch up this week?