Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I have been feeling an urging to get more connected with those who live in my neighborhood and in my community. A couple weeks ago we had a special speaker at our church and I experienced a healing miracle.

I'm reading a journal of miracles to the kids. I eventually want to start getting them to walk in faith and start stepping out of our comfort zone so that God can use us to reach our community.

I'm a little scared because writing this in my blog is kind of like throwing down the gauntlet. We shall see what happens.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cleaning out the cobwebs

So I'm organizing again.

I went on a diet and dropped some weight, and realized once again that I can accomplish so much more when I'm not stuffing my face all day.

When the opportunity to eat food whenever I wanted was removed from me, I suddenly found I had the energy and desire to clean and organize my home.

God has been speaking to me about downsizing. When He first spoke to me it was in the context of learning to live with less. Shortly after He laid this on my heart my husband presented me with the idea of moving. I knew at once that God was preparing me for that possibility. Of course, now that some time has passed and circumstances have changed, we are no longer considering moving. Now it is back to simply obeying God's instructions.

I know that I struggle (as do many of us Americans) with a poverty spirit. What I mean by this is that I horde things that aren't really of any value because I fear that if I give them up I will need them later and not be able to afford replacing them.

I know that God has given me everything I own. He is the one who has allowed these things to come into my possession. I also know that I am to be freely giving to others. My life is to be a conduit through which God can bless others. As I freely give to others, God continues to give to me.

So it is with that mindset that I am purging my belongings. I have given away so many, many things recently. I have more to give. My goal is to be able to clear enough stuff out of my garage that I can park my car in it. Of course, along with that goal, I also want to clear anything unused or no longer needed out of all the rooms in my house. Normally when I have cleaned out closets and shelves I have relocated items to the garage. This time I'm trying to actually get rid of these things.

I still have a lot to do, but I am persevering. It's not the most fun thing to do in the world, but I am noticing that as I get rid of things I feel weight being lifted off my shoulders.

One thing that seems to help is asking myself a simple question as I go through each box and shelf and cubby. "Do I ever want to pack this up and move it to another house?" Even though I know at this point that we aren't planning to move, it helps me decide what things are really necessary.

Another question I keep in mind is, "Is this something I love, or something I like?" There are some items I own that are nice and pretty, but I don't love them. These "likes" are headed to the thrift store and hopefully into the hands of someone who will love them.

Whenever the fear creeps into the back of my mind I have to remind myself that if God provided it once, then He will provide it again. There are so many people out there that can use the things I no longer need.

Well, it's time to get back to work now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I realized the other day that I don’t trust God.

I mean, I’m a Christian. I asked Jesus to save me from myself when I was five. I’ve been seeking Him for all these years, and yet I’ve come to realize that I don’t trust Him. I can give you pat answers. I can quote scriptures that tell of God’s faithfulness, loving kindness, ability to uphold, restore, etc. But it all comes to nothing when I look at how I live my life.

I know there have been times when I’ve trusted Him, primarily when I was young and I didn’t have very much. I trusted Him to supply my needs because there was no other option. Now time has passed and He has blessed me, and in return I have decided that I do not trust Him to do what He has promised.

Logically I know He is trustworthy. Logically I know that it is silly of me not to trust Him. I say to myself that I trust him, but they are just words.

When I put food in my mouth I think of a myriad of different things. Will this make me fat? Will this make me healthy? Do I deserve this? Can I afford to buy more of this?

When I consider my daily tasks I think, “Is this important? Is this what I should be doing? Is this my highest priority? Do I feel like doing this?” Most often the choice boils down to my personal comfort. I won’t do it if I don’t feel like doing it.

Somewhere I have regressed to a state of babyish self-service. I am so afraid that my Papa God is going to make me do something I hate that I decide not to listen to Him. In essence, I don’t trust Him.

He speaks to me constantly. I have told Him for years that I love Him, that I want to serve Him, that I want to be more like Him. And yet, every time He tells me to trust Him I say, “Not right now. I’m really enjoying doing this my way, perhaps tomorrow I’ll listen to You.”

Am I really enjoying doing things my way? Well, no. Actually I get stressed out and frustrated. I wonder why things aren’t working out and why I don’t feel fulfilled. I get angry at God for not forcing His will on me because if He had, I wouldn’t be in whatever mess I’ve gotten myself into.

So now that I realize this is in me, now that I’m aware that I have this problem, what am I going to do to resolve it?

Am I finally going to listen? Am I finally going to trust Him? Am I going to do what I’ve had people tell me to do all my life and believe that He is not going to let me down.

Honestly, I don’t know. It’s scary. It’s terrifying to think that He may tell me to do something really uncomfortable. What if He tells me to go up to some stranger and give them money? What if He tells me not to eat another helping of ice cream? What if He tells me to get up in the morning and actually make breakfast for my children?

Then again, what if He tells me that He wants me to enjoy His blessings and that I should eat some chocolate? What if He tells me to go sit down and rest and stop worrying about keeping the house clean? What if He tells me to go to the beach and I find a hundred dollar bill buried in the sand?

I can quote scripture passages to back up every one of those things too. He turned water into wine at a wedding feast. Water is perfectly healthy. It’s supposed to be one of the best things you can drink. Did they really need to drink wine? Someone even commented that everyone was already getting to the point where they wouldn’t be able to distinguish between good wine and bad wine.

He told Martha to quit complaining about Mary. He never told Martha that housework was bad. He never told her that it was wrong to cook a nice meal for your guests. He simply told her that for that moment, she needed to relax and enjoy His presence.

Jesus trusted His Papa so much that when someone complained that He wasn’t paying his taxes, he got the money from a fish. Not only did He get it from a fish, but he didn’t even catch it Himself. He told one of his friends to do it.

So, yeah, I can quote scriptures that show the tender mercies of God. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. But it remains to be seen if I will follow through and really trust Him. I really, really want to trust Him. I just have to keep dying to myself, and reminding myself that when I’m in charge I don’t like the results.

I want to do amazing things. I want to be “translated” like Phillip was. I want to be able to walk on water like Peter did. But I’ll never be able to do these things until I finally, truly realize that God can and will make it happen. Even if it means starting at the beginning, like a baby, learning to crawl and then walk and finally run, not with my own muscles, but with His.

Even if I have the ability to do these things, like research nutrition and make informed decision, I have to intentionally allow God to decide. Even if it means getting up in the morning and asking God what clothes I should wear.

Let’s see what happens. I might hate it… but then again, I might not.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book Teaser: "Elsie"

This is the teaser for the book I've been working on. It's supposed to be what you would read on the back cover of the book. Let me know if it sounds like something you would want to read. I'm almost done with the revision process (only a few more chapters to go), and will soon be contacting writer's agencies. I still need to come up with an awesome title.

* * *

Elsie is an incredibly intelligent woman in an age where members of her sex are grossly under appreciated. The year is 1757. King George II is on the throne and his reign is coming to an end.

The illegitimate daughter of a baron, 15 year old Elsie has been physically abused for most of her life. When her father informs her that she is to be married to one of his peers in order to resolve his debts, she is forced to act upon a plan she has been fine tuning for some time.

In the dead of night she fakes her own murder by ransacking her room and stabbing herself with a shard of glass leaving blood stains everywhere. She cuts her hair, dresses like a boy, and then runs away to begin a new life free from the oppression she has known.

Although her journey is much more difficult than she imagined she finds a little girl who is even worse off than herself. Joy McRae is an orphan, barely five years old. With winter approaching Elsie cannot bring herself to let the little one starve to death. She takes the girl with her and convinces everyone that they are siblings. Little does she know that this one act of charity will have a positive affect the rest of her life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've been writing again. I used to write a lot. When I was a pre-teen my friends and I had a writers club. I find great amusement in the things I wrote then. As any normal teenage girl, I loved poetry, and wrote plenty of sappy poems. After I married I bought books on how to become an author, and tried my hand at some of the suggestions. I had a subscription to Writer's Digest for a year, and probably still have those 12 issues somewhere.

Then there was a time when I decided I wasn't good enough, or disciplined enough, or interested enough to really pursue it. I laid aside my writing and decided that it was a childish pursuit. I thought it might be nice to try my hand at it again when my children were grown or perhaps after my husband retired and we had all the time retirees are supposed to have.

Over the years my creativity would flare up and I would spend a little time writing. Mostly I kept it to blog posts, occasionally an idea for a picture book. These little spurts would only last a day or two, never long enough to sustain the discipline necessary for book writing.

Once, during one of my more dramatic moments I sat at the computer till the wee hours of the morning writing an idea for a novel. As I wrote, I never intended to pursue publication. My daughter Deborah was newborn and most of my time was spent nursing and recuperating from her Cesarean delivery. My sleeping patterns were off, and my postpartum hormones were raging.

In the course of about a week I had written about 15 chapters. I got stuck when it came to writing the actual romance. The action had been easy. It was the sappy stuff that made every attempt I made laughable. I had the skeleton of the plot in my mind but faltered when it came to adding the nerves and flesh and skin of my creation.

I gave up (as I usually do) when the going got tough, but my mind would not let it rest. I thought about my story for years. It stayed just behind all the other more pressing things. When I went to bed at night I would puzzle over my plot. I would try to work out the problems that had stopped me. I didn't open the file or actually add any new information, but my brain buzzed whenever my life grew quiet enough for me to remember its existence.

Finally, seven years later, I found incentive. I was going through some difficult times. Decisions regarding my future were being thrust upon me. I was faced with the question, "If you cannot do what you love most, what can you do instead?" I thought about that question for a week. I decided that I would try my hand at writing again. If I tried it and failed then I would try something else. I was so upset about the changes going on around me that I couldn't spare the emotional energy to knit pick my writing.

I have now been working steadily on the book I began so long ago. Last night I finally finished it. I say that haltingly. I know it is far from finished. I still have revising and editing to do. I still have to find a publisher and most likely an agent to negotiate for me. I still have to come up with an amazing title. However, the story itself has finally been written down. Last night a little after midnight I wrote the words "The End."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

God has been speaking to me a lot lately. Funny how that works: we decide to sit down and listen and He actually has something to say. Just kidding, of course. I’m a pretty typical part of my culture. I live in the USA and my main problems are contentment and health.

Contentment. I have battled with this one for a very long time. I don’t really remember a time in my life when I didn’t want more than I had. Because I live in the USA I have access to more “stuff” than most people in other countries. Although I would consider myself a middle class citizen, from what I’ve learned of other cultures, I would probably be considered a blue-blood in many other countries. And yet, despite this abundance of wealth and access to culture, I still find it so easy to complain and focus on all the things I don’t have.

Of course, I’m not talking about the things of God…. It seems as if I find my spiritual walk boring, and I don’t really seek to know more about the “things above.” Although I know deep down that I should seek to be discontent with my relationship with God, I find it all too easy to say “I know enough,” or, “I have enough” of the things of God. I can say in my rational mind that I want to know God more, but my daily walk shows that I don’t really want it. I know from past experience that when I seek the things of God I find greater peace and rest, but yet I still fall into complacency.

Health. Americans in general are some of the most obese in the world. I fall into that category, and like my fellow Americans I have turned to everything but God to correct this. This is what God has been speaking to me about, because in my frustration this is what I’ve been asking Him about. He has been speaking to me about trust. Do I trust Him to keep me healthy or am I leaning on my own understanding.

There are a myriad of articles available to anyone who looks about health and fitness, and, believe me I have looked. And yet, it seems the more I look the more I am confused. This person says this and another person of equal education and experience says the opposite. Remember the old butter vs. margarine battle? This is what I have come up against, and in the end it has all led back to a stark realization that I am weak and frail, and I must trust my creator to know what is best for me.

In order to do this, however, I must learn to hear His voice. I must tune in and really work my spiritual muscles to know the difference between my flesh (cravings), the enemy (flawed information), and the Spirit (truth). I am learning that often the Spirit will lead in a direction that is against the norm. Sometimes it means exercising, and sometimes it means just being at rest. Sometimes it means watching my calorie intake and keeping everything written down, and sometimes it means not stressing out about eating at a restaurant. Every time I try to take my health back into my own hands, disaster awaits. Every time I entrust it to my all-wise Creator, the result is peace and health.

So this is what I’m learning: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:26-31 NIV)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Disney World on a Diet

Disclaimer: this article is not approved by Walt Disney Corporation and they do not back any of the information included. This is one woman's personal opinion, and Disney Corp cannot be held responsible for any of it. The same goes for Rice Dream, Clif Bar, Sargento, and Babybel.

So I'm headed to Disney World again. I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to see the expressions of wonder and awe on my children's faces as the experience the magic of Disney. Amelia will be experiencing it for the first time.

However, behind the scenes building in intensity, is a fear that I'll repeat history and gain 10 lbs while I'm there, thus making a costly "fat clothes" budget deficit. I don't want that to happen. I'm so concerned about this particular circumstance that I've been looking for information all over the internet about ways to stay on your diet while at Disney without lugging around a cooler all day.

The closest I came to finding good information about this is a blog written by a Southern California mom on the subject. However, her advice was tailored to the California parks. Since we already have reservations at several of the table service restaurants in the Florida parks, her advice doesn't quite fit what I need.

Her blog, however, inspired me to not only dig out the information I need for myself, but to post it here for all to see. I didn't even bother to look up information on how many grams of fat or carbs were in a particular food, but rather I tried to keep my information purely to a calorie count. While there were a couple of holes in my plan (we're eating at two buffets with constantly changing menus), and there was no nutrition information provided by Disney, I used some common sense and a couple of external sites to put together a menu for the week that wouldn't throw me off completely.

Side note: Although I am pretty upset about the passing of the healthcare bill (or should we call it a government power grab against the will of the people), I hope that a few of the reforms force Disney to start posting more information on the nutrition of their foods. As one blogger put it, it's pretty ridiculous that Disney pushes the idea of the Princess/Prince with the perfect physique, yet doesn't provide reasonable nutrition to help our children attain that healthy goal.

There are a few things to keep in mind while looking through this menu.

1) My family tends to prefer a light breakfast and we like to sleep in. Therefore, we usually bring cheap easy breakfast items along with us. These include: juice and milk boxes, individual boxes of cereal, granola bars, pop tarts, and instant oatmeal packets (using the hotel coffee maker to heat the water).

For breakfast this time around I plan to bring my own homemade granola. It averages around 250 calories per 1/2 cup. I LOVE granola, so I eat it almost every morning. To keep things exciting I change the recipe slightly each time using different dried fruits and nuts. I also have an aversion to dairy (although I've never been diagnosed, I tend to get PND whenever I eat/drink too much). I will be bringing Enriched Original Rice Dream which measures at 120 calories per cup.

2) Although I don't plan to bring a cooler into the park each day, I will be bringing a morning snack and an afternoon snack. Whether or not I actually eat this food will depend on when we're planning to eat lunch or dinner, and what time we get up that day. The morning snack will be a Mini Cliff Bar. These little baby's have a whole lot of vitamins and I usually eat them in place of a multivitamin each day.

The second snack will vary between apples or oranges and a serving of cheese. This should be sufficient to curb my cravings for ice cream and popcorn in the middle of the day. Sargento seems to have the lowest low-calorie string cheese stick, and since I want maximize the foods I can eat from the Disney experience, this is the one I'm going for. I also really enjoy Mini Babybel Light.

3) I do not plan on eating an entire plate of food as presented at any of the sit-down restaurants. Portions tend to run much larger than an average person should eat in one sitting. I'm know, personally, I tend to feel tired and sluggish if I over eat, so not over filling my belly will be a pretty high priority.

I also plan on only drinking water unsweetened iced tea or a diet soda with my meals. Why drink your calories when you can eat them?

That said, I will now post the menus (2 meals and 1 snack) for each day I'll be there.

Sunday: At the Magic Kingdom
Lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table - Pan Seared Salmon, Jasmine Rice, Asian Vegetable Slaw and Garlic-Ginger Sauce: I figured 370 calories for the salmon, 205 for the Asian Slaw, and 140 for the rice.
Dinner at Columbia Harbour House - Vegetarian chili with a side of coleslaw. This site provided the recipe for the vegetarian chili that is served, and I figured about 2 cups of chili would be around 372 calories. Coleslaw is traditionally about 147 calories per half cup.
Dessert - A diet coke float. Diet coke is 0 calories, and 1/2 cup of soft serve ice cream is about 191 calories.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1610 calories

Monday: At Disney's Hollywood Studios
Lunch at Starring Rolls Cafe - Whole Wheat Veggie Pita with no sauce, and Fresh fruit. The veggies are virtually calorie free, the pita is 74 calories, and an average serving of mixed fruit is 75 calories. Even if I end up putting a bit of mustard or other low calorie topping on it, this is probably the healthiest meal I could eat anywhere in the resort.
Dinner at Mama Melroses - Spaghetti Fra Diavolo. I'm expecting the Fra Diavolo to be about 335 Calories, and the Spaghetti (or at least the amount I'll eat) about 200.
Dessert - Mickey Ice Cream Bar. This should run around 330 Calories
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1604 calories

Tuesday: At Epcot
Lunch at The Electric Umbrella - Chicken Nuggets with Apple Slices. Depending on the number of nuggets, I'm guessing around 235 calories. The Apple slices are 40 calories per pouch.
Dinner at Les Chefs de France - This one I just had to copy and paste. Filet de boeuf grille, sauce au poivre noir Gratin Dauphinois et haricots verts. The Tenderloin is about 202 calories The potato gratin and Green beans should be about 171 calories.
Dessert - We seem to have a tradition to eat funnel cake while watching the fireworks. So a Funnel cake with strawberry topping should be about 391 calories.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1619 calories

Wednesday: At Magic Kingdom
Lunch at Crystal Palace: Since this is a buffet, I'll be depending on my ability to steer clear of things that look too creamy and fill up on lots of veggies. That being said, I estimate I'll probably eat about 500 calories at this meal.
Dinner at Cosmic Ray's: Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. I'm not planning to eat any skin or dark meat, so the chicken should be about 170 calories. The potatoes and veggies should be about 264 calories.
Dessert - I'm going to head over the ice cream parlor on Main street and get a kids ice cream scoop with chocolate mickey ears. This should be about 211 Calories.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1735 calories

Thursday: at the Hotel (this time it's Port Orleans Riverside)
We generally take a day off during the week to give the kids some down-time. We've noticed that if we go to the parks every day they can't handle the stimulation and eventually have a meltdown. Of course, as they get older it's less necessary, but since we have a 1 year old, we are DEFINITELY taking the day off. (Yes, I realize it's kind of ironic that we have to take a day off from our vacation).
Lunch at the Riverside Mill Food Court: I'll be having a salad. If I include some grilled chicken and regular ranch dressing I'm figuring it will be about 279 Calories.
Dinner at Boma - This is another buffet. It's located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. My husband went there during a conference and has been trying to take the family there for the last several years since. I'm figuring I'll probably eat about 500 calories of food for this meal.
Dessert - Back to the food court for this one. A individual serving of Apple pie is about 250 calories. If I'm even awake for this one, I think it's a good choice.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1609 calories

Friday: At Animal Kingdom and Epcot
We've been trying to get into Le Cellier for a long time and when the opportunity came up to get in we jumped at it. However, since our reservation is at 2:00 this days schedule is a bit off.
Lunch at Harambe Fruit Market - put simply, I'll be having apples with caramel. I'm guessing at about 90 Calories.
Meal at Le Cellier -Because of the odd timing I'm not sure if I'll be choosing from the lunch menu or the dinner menu. Since I'm not likely to enjoy this again for a long time, I'm going to splurge. From the lunch menu I'll order the NY Strip Steak. If I eat half the meat the calorie count should be about 381 for the steak and 131 for the potatoes. If I eat there for dinner I'll get the Prime rib. If I eat about 6 oz of the meat (I'm guessing this is about half) the calories will jump to 520 Calories.
Dinner at Yakitori House - Teriyaki Chicken. This should be about 440 calories. I'm not even sure I'll be hungry enough to eat a meal at this point though.
Dessert - A chocolate chip cookie. Two normal cookies are about 100 calories. I figure this is a good estimate of one cookie from Disney.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1751 calories (if I end up eating Prime Rib)

We'll be heading home on Saturday, so I won't post the menu for that day. I will say I'll plan on eating a salad at some fast food place on the way.

I'm sure some of you will read this and think, "This lady has a screw loose." But I hope others will be able to use this as encouragement to look for better options while they are enjoying the Disney resorts. I suppose I should promise at this point to give everyone an update on how well I did. I'm not promising anything because I am usually scrambling when we get back from vacation to get everyone back on a reasonable schedule, as well as getting caught up on vacation laundry. So we'll see.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spinning Wheel

So, I bought a spinning wheel.

Not just any wheel mind you, but a giant one.

Of course, the purchase of such a piece of history necessitated some research. This is what I've found.

This particular type of wheel is called a Great Wheel, or more commonly a Walking Wheel. This is because the spinner has to stand while using it. It has a few parts that need to be replaced or fixed. There are no hallmarks to hint at it's age. For all I know it could have been made in the 80's by some carpenter who liked old things as much as I do. There are plans available to make them. I know it was sitting in this lady's antique shop for at least 4 years before I came along.

The other thing this purchase necessitated was all the extra things to go along with spinning. I bought some wool roving (wool that is already prepared to spin) that was dyed a dark aqua. I also bought some creamy white bamboo fibers to blend with the wool.

I bought carders. These are kind of like giant slicker brushes (those pet brushes with the bent bristles). You're supposed to brush the fibers with them so that all the fibers lay the same direction to make them easy to spin.

One thing the wheel was missing, and probably the easiest thing to replace, was the drive band. This is the band that goes around the wheel and the spindle to make everything spin in unison. I bought one online and quickly realized it's just a big piece of cotton crochet thread. Next time I'll just buy a spool of the stuff from my local craft store. I jerry-rigged (sp?) a drive band for it while I was waiting for the one I ordered and spun some yarn. I definitely need to practice more.

I also joined a spinning forum online. It's called Spin-off. The people there have been so helpful so far.

I guess that's all for now. Back to work.