Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Caleb's Quest

I just love the way Caleb thinks sometimes! He always notices things when we're driving places. Recently he realized that all the house numbers in our section of the neighborhood begin with "2". He wondered about it aloud, then remembered that a section across the highway has house numbers beginning with "1". We think it might be the order sections opened up in the neighborhood for building.

Just today we discovered where the "4" section is. Now he's wondering where "3" is and if there's a "5". He's ready for us to ride our bikes through the neighborhood in search of the missing "3" section. There's a newer section that's recently opened up across the highway, and we think it might be "5". He wants us to drive through one day on our way home just to see.

I wonder what he'll come up with next.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - April 26, 2010

We ended up with more leftovers last week than I had anticipated, so we're starting the week off with those. We would've had them for lunch yesterday, but we had an AWANA appreciation luncheon. After the church business meeting last night, we stopped in at McDonald's...

Now that the weather is warmer, we'll start having frequent salad suppers instead of soup nights. Homemade pizzas are a thing of the past for now, too. Having to bake the pizzas in shifts at such a high temperature gets the kitchen too hot for the spring and summer. Now it's one-dish stove-top meals, grilling, and salads. Yum! If I do need to bake something small, I can use my convection toaster oven, which doesn't put out a lot of unnecessary heat.

leftover bison burgers and roasted potatoes

And it's haircut night, which is perfect with leftovers because I don't have so much to clean up in the kitchen.

Southwestern Cornbread Salad
fresh guacamole and salsa with tortilla chips


Fried Rice
Mandarin Chicken Salad


Our home group meets tonight, so we'll be eating something quick before we go.

AWANA Picnic in the Park
I need to take a dessert from Jacob's group and a side dish from Caleb's. I think I'll go the easy route for Jacob's and just take a package of cookies. (I have some coupons I need to use.) I'm undecided what I want to take for a side. Maybe a baked potato casserole? That's picnic safe.

For more menu plans, be sure to check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dallas Blooms 2010

Well, after living here for over 6 years, I finally made it out to the Dallas Arboretum for the annual Dallas Blooms festival. Mere words cannot convey how gorgeous it was out there, so I've decided to showcase some of my best photos from the day in a slide show.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Exodus 4:1-17

...continuing my "Journey Through the Bible - Old Testament" that our church offered for personal study.

Exodus 4:1-17

God is speaking to Moses at the burning bush. Moses is worried that the Israelite elders won't believe he is speaking for God, so God gives him 3 signs to perform to convince them. Moses then gives an excuse why he shouldn't be the one to do it, but God reassures him that He will be with him. Moses then asks God to send someone else, but God tells him he will do it with His and Aaron's help.

God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, but Moses felt he was a poor choice and gave God many excuses why he couldn't do the job. God knew Moses' abilities and promised to lead him. He didn't let Moses off the hook.

When God chooses us to do something for Him, He will give us all we need to do His will. We are to trust that He is sovereign over our lives and not argue for what is more comfortable for us.


Verse 14 says, "Then the LORD became angry with Moses..." I think I'd be frustrated with Moses if he kept giving me one excuse after another to get out of doing something. I know I get angry with the boys when they whine and complain and argue about something I've told them to do. When I tell them to do something, I expect them to do it - and do it now.

But how do I respond when God wants me to do something? Do I not listen? Do I whine and complain about how hard it is or how uncomfortable it would make me? Do I try to argue why I shouldn't do it? Sure, I do. God is trying to stretch me to fill the place He has set aside for me, but I just want to stay the same, to stay comfortable in my own little world. I don't want to be bothered with something outside of my "normal".

I need to remember that God knows better than I do what I'm capable of doing. After all, He's the one who created me. Just as He promised Moses that He'd be with him, God has made those same promises to all His children. He's going to be with me as I do what He wants me to do. It's when I go my own way that I fail and feel miserably alone and inadequate. Yes, He's still with me, but He's letting me learn my lesson and reap the consequences of my disobedience. And just like I don't let my boys' whining and complaining change my decision, God doesn't accept my "no", either.


My Prayer
Lord, thank you for forgiving me when I repeatedly make excuses for not doing what You would have me to do. Thank you for creating me to do wonderful things for You. Help me to discern Your will and to separate it from my own, and please give me the encouragement I need to carry out what You have required of me.

Menu Plan Monday - April 19, 2010

I let last week's posting pass me by, but I didn't really have much of a plan anyway. It was eat-from-the-freezer/pantry week, so we made do with whatever I threw together. Not too bad, either. I made my own chicken nuggets one night, breaded with Panko bread crumbs and some chipotle seasoning, then baked. Everyone loved them and wants them again soon. Panko is a new staple around here.

On to this week...

Spanish Rice (I need to post this recipe!)
Homemade Guacamole
Fresh Salsa

Homemade Pizzas:
1 large veggie pizza, maybe w/ a little pepperoni
1 small Alfredo pepperoni w/ veggies
1 small Alfredo w/ veggies

Tuscan Sausage Pasta
Garden Salad

Panko-Chipotle Chicken Nuggets
Southwestern-Style Rice & Veggies
Garden Salad


Home-Grilled Burgers
Roasted Potato Wedges
Fresh Fruit

We'll either pick up something on our way home from AWANA and the church business meetings, or we'll have sandwiches/cereal when we get home. (Cereal has become my standard Sunday supper since I tend to eat a little more during the day...)

For more menu plans, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


First off, this is my 301st blog post here at Blogger. Woohoo! I had many more posts at two previous blog sites, but the first one crashed and I lost everything. The second site wasn't so great. I guess my old posts are still there...

Speaking of crashing...

We have a community bike trail through our neighborhood that goes to the park and around the pond. From our house, around the pond, and back home again, the trail is about 3 miles. That makes for a good bike ride, especially since we all have bikes and can ride them. (Jacob learned how to ride training wheel-free on Thanksgiving Day.)

A few times now, various members of our family have ridden around the trail. The last two times, the boys and I have gone after finishing school. It's a great way to get some fresh air and exercise and enjoy where we live.

Today the boys and I went on another tour of the trail. I stopped here and there to snap a few pictures with my phone since parts of the trail are pretty with bright yellow flowers (weeds?) right now. The wind wasn't blowing hard, and Jacob was content to ride behind Caleb for a while instead of whining about not being first. The riding was good and argument-free.

As we were heading into the stretch near the pool, the boys split off from me. They like ride on one side and cut through the grass while I stay on the main trail along the pond. They came out a little ahead of me as we neared the playground. That's when Jacob decided he wanted in the lead. His sudden burst of speed caused him to lose control. He slipped off the side of the sidewalk/trail, then over-corrected, got back on the concrete, and started wobbling back and forth. I knew what was coming...

It all seemed to happen in slow motion. I tried to hurry up to them as I watched Jacob's bike slide to one side. He hit the ground and slid. From my point of view, it looked like his face scraped the ground. I had flashbacks to a similar wreck I had when I was 8 or 9 years old...

Jacob was lying on the ground, holding his arm and screaming. I jumped off my bike and almost lost my balance as I let it fall to the ground in my rush to get to him. I didn't see any blood on his face. I was afraid I was going to see his arm laying at an awkward angle. My stomach was dropping. As I dropped down on the sidewalk beside him, I was relieved to see cuts and scrapes and an arm not broken or disjointed. I helped him up and over to a bench so I could better see the damage. He was freaking out over his bleeding cuts. I'm not a fan of blood, either.

Once I realized he was okay, I started feeling woozy. The adrenaline rush was too much. I sat on the bench beside him and put my head between my knees, all the while telling him that he was okay and to take slow, deep breaths. I was trying to do the same. Hanging my head down wasn't helping matters, and neither was the fact that we were all in desperate need of water. I knew I couldn't make it home yet if I tried. I slid to the end of the bench and lay down with my knees up. Thankfully that helped. I hated to think I'd pass out and scare the boys to death. Once we had both calmed down, I told the boys about my bike wreck, when I ended up in the ER and was told to rinse my mouth out with hydrogen peroxide since I had scraped my gums on the road, along with various other body parts.

After story time we were all feeling better. Caleb had already gotten all the bikes up and put down the kickstands. He sweetly offered to ride his bike and pull Jacob's along, but I nixed that idea. We didn't need another accident. Jacob couldn't decide if he wanted to try to ride his bike or walk it back home. Caleb took a good look at it asked why the handle bars were all weird. The impact of hitting the ground twisted the handle bars at a strange angle from the front wheel. I tried to straighten it back out but couldn't. I reassured him Dad could fix it.

The walk home was uneventful, except for reading on Facebook about my friend's son's bike wreck yesterday. He lost his two front teeth and had to get stitches. His helmet saved him from head trauma. (Thus the boys learned from a close source the value of wearing helmets. We all wear them when we ride, even though we don't like them very well...)

I got Jacob's cuts and scrapes cleaned, medicated, and bandaged as well as he would let me. Then he spent half an hour laying on the couch watching Caleb play Wii Sports Resort for him. :o) I think his afternoon snack of S'Mores helped cheer him up a bit, too.

He didn't get back on his bike today, but he did ride his scooter this evening after supper. He's fine, though he might have a bit of a black eye tomorrow. I saw the slight scrape later, but it's become a little more noticeable now. I hope he'll ride tomorrow. He doesn't need to let this keep him off his bike.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 2010 Book List

17. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson

The story begins with three loose threads: Henrik Vanger, a retired CEO receives his regular birthday gift, one that never fails to remind him of an unsolved murder in his family; Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist, is convicted of libel; and Lisbeth Salander, an aloof, unscrupulous private investigator and professional hacker, presents her findings on Blomkvist to a private lawyer for undisclosed reasons.

These threads are woven together, at first slowly and uninterestingly, to produce a fantastic story. Without giving too much of the story away, these three people form close bonds as they work together to unravel a mystery of dynamic proportions. The end result is shocking.

After the first few chapters, I found myself having a hard time putting the book down. The characters are well-written and the situations in the book, though true-to-life, are immoral: adulterous relationships, homosexual activity, rape, incest, serial killings, etc. Yes, it's all there. Henrik Vanger and Mikael Blomkvist are likable; Lisbeth Salander is a little frightening. All through the book, I was rooting for some good to come to Salander, for her to finally find someone to trust - and for her to reveal her past. What makes her the way she is? That wasn't answered here, but that's what Larsson's sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, is supposed to do. I've put that book on hold and will hopefully get it sometime in the next two weeks.

I didn't get as early a start reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and it came due when I was only halfway through it. Instead of turning it in half read, I decided to keep it out and pay a fine. I dropped it off in the book drop yesterday (Tuesday) before the library opened, so they only charged me for Saturday - just 30 cents. (They're closed on Sundays and Mondays, so they don't charge for overdue books on those days.)

I've seen that Sweden has produced The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as a movie and Hollywood has bought the rights to make a film as well. I can't picture who would play the characters right now, but it'll be interesting to see how they interpret things. Because of the subject matter involved, I don't think that's a movie I'd be willing to watch.

18. Body-for-LIFE for Women by Peeke, Pamela

I've checked out several "diet" books from the library, but this is the first one I've actually completely read. That a female women's physician wrote it is a big plus. She understands the different changes a woman's body goes through and is trained to know how to meet those changing needs. The nutritional advice she gives is helpful. One thing I read that has stayed with me: drinking ice water is better for weight loss. "The energy required to raise the temperature of ice water to the body's core temperature can amount to a removal of several pounds of weight by the end of a year." (p. 105) Wow! Bring it on!

Peeke also addresses the dreaded weight loss plateau, which I have not only experienced several times in the past, but am currently experiencing now. She recommends, like other sources I've found, to change up the diet and the activity level for a bit. As for activity, do something different, change the time of day you exercise, and turn up the intensity level.

In addition to other food and exercise guidelines, Peeke provides plans for both weight loss and weight maintenance. She emphasizes that just diet or just fitness will not do the trick; it's a combined effort.

Nearly 40 pages in the book are devoted to exercises for different muscle groups. She recommends numerous exercises that can be done either in the gym or at home. She also provides a list of equipment for the home gym. Though some of it is expensive and might tend to take up space, I don't think it would be too hard to come up with alternatives.

This book is one I am seriously considering purchasing, just so I'll always have this information at my fingertips - especially as my body moves from one phase to another and has different needs.

19. Still Growing by Kirk Cameron

Kirk Cameron is probably best known for playing the mischievous-but-lovable character Mike Seaver on TV's Growing Pains. It was during the show's run (from 1985 to 1992) that Cameron went from being a moral atheist to a strong Christian whose values were strengthened. As he chronicles his life as a child star, he's honest about his own short-comings and neuroses. He was definitely not the same person as his TV character.

After giving his life to the Lord, he tried hard to stand up for his beliefs on the set of the show, though some of the causes he stood for led to friction between him and the producers and other cast members.

It was on the set of his sister Candace Cameron's sit-com (Full House), that he first met his future wife, Chelsea Noble. It wasn't until she guest starred on Growing Pains that the two connected and fell in love.

The book goes on to tell of his struggles with being an actor with a heart for God and he overcame the pressures of Hollywood to do what he felt God would have him do.

Having been a fan of Cameron during his years on Growing Pains, it was eye-opening for me to finally see past Hollywood's veil to what he was really like during that time. I have a lot of respect for him and all the different ways he helps minister to people.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Genesis 12:1-9

I use for printing each passage for study. Clicking on the link below will take you directly to the passage in Genesis and provide you with study notes from the NET Bible.

Genesis 12:1-9

In this passage, God tells Abram (later Abraham) to leave his father's household and go to a land He would give to his descendants. He promised to bless Abram and make him into a great nation. Abram did as God told him and he was shown the land of Canaan.

Abram did what God told him, seemingly without hesitation. He followed God's leading and worshiped Him.

I should follow Abram's example of following God's leading without hesitation and putting my complete trust in Him.


From the previous text, it's clear that Abram had already set out for the land of Canaan with his father and his family (including all their servants and their livestock). They had come from Ur, a wealthy pagan city on the southern part of the Euphrates River along the southern edge of the Fertile Crescent.

Along the way, they settled in the land of Haran (where Abram's father died), a few hundred miles north/northeast of Canaan. When I looked at an atlas of the area, I discovered that Haran was located about 560 miles northwest of Ur.

Why did they travel so far northwest when Canaan lie nearly 600 miles almost due west?

I obviously wasn't thinking about travel during ancient times. Haran is located at the northern end of the Euphrates River, which was a major trade and travel route. Canaan was located farther south/southwest, but along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, another trade/travel route with major cities along it. Traveling from Ur due west to Canaan would have been more dangerous, especially for that number of people. There were other trade routes that crossed that way, but they were through desert areas, then mountains, not along waterways.

This makes me think about how God leads me. What I may think is a more direct route may not be the best way. Maybe God wants to lead me through life along a safer path, even though it may seem to me to be a wandering one.


My Prayer
Lord, thank you for leading me in the ways You know are best. Please continue to guide me. Help me to follow You without hesitation and to put my complete trust in You.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bible Study Methods

When Billy was accepted to Dallas Theological Seminary, they sent him a book by Howard Hendricks entitled Living by the Book. I looked through it and thought it looked like something I'd like to read, but it wasn't until nearly 2 years later when I finally got started with it.

Not long ago, our church decided to encourage the body to spiritual growth in Bible study using the methods outlined in that book. They printed a booklet with one scripture reading from each of the 39 books of the Old Testament, complete with space for writing in observation, interpretation, and application for each reading. Since I'm not a part of any Bible study group right now, and my own personal study of Romans was almost finished, I decided to make that my next study.

When I began, I realized I couldn't really remember what I needed to do for observation, interpretation, and application, so I found Living by the Book on one of the shelves in Billy's study and went through it again. I skimmed the chapters and jotted notes on what I needed to do and look for as I read. I made lists of outside resources to consult, many of them in Billy's personal library. I copied an inventory of personal questions to consider when looking at scripture and how it can affect our lives. Finally, I was ready to begin the study.

Typically I take one week for each passage. The first day, I mark the text, which I've printed from the computer so I can jot notes and questions and answers. I also read the verses immediately before and after to put the passage in the correct context. Then I fill in the observation portion of my booklet. Days two and three are for interpretation. I reread the passage in another translation, usually the Amplified Version. Then I consult a commentary and a Bible handbook to find answers to questions I've come up with. I also look at an atlas to see where things took place. Then I read over my notes and write in the interpretation part of my booklet. The last day or two, I take time for personal reflection. Sometimes I don't get it the first day and I need time during the rest of the day to meditate on what I've learned. If it does take two days, I'll reread everything I've written for that passage and maybe go back to the commentary. After a little more thought, I realize what I need to work on in the application portion.

So far I've finished Genesis through Numbers. Tomorrow I'll start Deuteronomy. (No, I'm not on a M-F schedule. Some mornings I don't get my Bible study done...) I'd like to post some of my observation, interpretation, and application for the passages I've read. Maybe something I've found will help you like it's helping me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - April 5, 2010

Okay, so I'm a day late. After last week's menu-free week, I'm having a hard time getting back into the groove. Oh, and since I only picked up a few necessities at the grocery store last week, there's really not a lot to choose from. Here's hoping that today's planning and grocery trip will get me back on track.

Monday (yesterday)
Tony Chachere's Dirty Rice, green beans

chicken quesadillas, chips, and homemade salsa and guacamole

scrambled eggs & sausage, grits & bacon, toast & jelly

garlic butter shrimp with mushrooms and spinach over tiny bowtie pasta, homemade bread



AWANA Missions Challenge Pizza Party

For more menu plan ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.