Blessed~Our Clan

may30, 2014 by nama

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One of the big challenges that came with adopting when our first four children were older has been the change it brought to our family structure.  When Blessing came home at 15 months old our first four were 10, 13, 17 and 18.  That was easy, an adorable new baby fits anywhere and causes little adjustment to relationships.  As Blessing grew and became more active, boisterous and creative the adjustments it has required  have been more measurable and at times “costly” than we had foreseen.  Our adult children rarely get “adult” time with mom and dad.  There is not a lot of sitting in the quiet living room, sipping something and talking deep theology here, or when the conversion does go deep,  Blessing is not easily included, there is no pack of playmates to run with while the adults are all serious.  Our adult children have to parent with a busy, filled with ideas 10 year old in the mix every time they bring their babies to Nama and Pappa’s.  We are their babies’  Grandparents, at the very same time we are also Blessing’s parents.  When they spat, or don’t want to share or Blessing walks off with their newborn as if he is a dress up dolly our adult children have to process their reaction and how they handle those things through many blurry filters.

One of the biggest blessings we get from the gift of adding a tiny to our home so late in life is watching the generations work it out and do life together.  Everyone has to be less self focused.  Everyone has to consider additional layers of needs and desires.  Everyone gets to give a little more.  Everyone gets to learn and grow and know the blessing of  HIS refinement in a deeper way.

Blessed to be a nest with so many layers of Love built into it.

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This series of pictures makes me smile.  Watch the moving relationship.

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 This is our third son Parker with his newborn Timothy building girl Legos with Blessing.

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Timothy !

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Blessing… “Hmmmmm  ‘.

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      “I don’t quite get it.”

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 “Ohhhhhh, I see.”

I love Lego Friends (girl Legos), where were these when our first princess was little?

Photo Tip: Because as you have noticed, i am such a pro ; ),  take a series of 10-20 pictures of the exact same frame.  The capture of still shot relationships can be so much more fun than a video.

We send our California three back to their daddy and husband tomorrow, there will be lots of grandbaby+ Aunty fun here today, Pappa took the day off.

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Intentional, because it won’t just happen

Mostly i am tired and worn and look the part.

IMG_5068That is why 95% of me is cropped out of this image.  i look like a tired old Nama.  i am just not secure enough for that nonsense.

When i am tired, my default mood is C. R. A. B. B. Y.  i am a mess.  Is that normal or did i get an extra dose of ” not nice lady”?

If i run on instinct and feeling alone, most hours out of your average day or week are not going to be pretty.  i have to be intentional in my choices, i have to purpose each day to do the best rather than alot of  good.

i purpose to do what matters most.  To do what has proven to bring worthy results.  To just be stinkin kind.  To give more than i require.  To think of others for just a moment before i spout my need.  To find a gem to treasure in the gravel pit of everydayness.

Yesterday i slugged to the kitchen and baked this,
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Best Banana Bread Ever

Because Kaydra’s Cody is moving out of our little neighborhood very soon and it is his favorite and i had brown bananas and it would be good to have for the grandbabies who will be here the next two day.

Capture.JPG banana bread Here is a pin for you, i am trying hard to make our time together fun and easy for you.

Everyday  most days i read all or part of these daily thoughts.  They are filled with sound old wisdom, i can count on them.  They bring me back to Truth and Hope and the things that are worthy of  intentional commitment.

Streams in the Desert

My Utmost for His Highest

Charles Spurgeon

Daily Light on the Daily Path

We have our California Jewels without Mamma and Daddy for the rest of the week.

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Pappa filled some buckets with water last night so they would warm overnight.  We could have run to Walmart and grabbed a kiddie pool.  We are intentionally choosing to treasure what we already have been blessed with + when you are tired and nearing crabby it isn’t wise to add one more thing to the list, at least it is not wise in our neck of the woods.  Buckets work just fine, right?

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We are all a bit weary from the parade of fun, the baby girls have fevers.

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We are going to step over this, yes that is a swing in our kitchen.

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We are going to leave this sit right there for later play.

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We are ignoring this until a day when the babies aren’t here.  We only have THIS moment, that is truth whether they live in California or our basement bedroom.

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We are going to laugh.  (Kingston was teasing Aunty Kaydra.)

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We are going to work together.  (Blessing got both babies ready for bed all by herself because “I can just tell you are tired, Mamma.”)

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And we will snuggle.

Because these things last.  i do not do well in disorder but i can not allow the clatter of the urgent and ever undone to crowd out the important.  i must intentionally say no over and over to create room for saying yes to the best.

Say yes to your  intentional BEST today.  Say no to something that “needs” to be done so you can say yes to something that must be done.

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This little guy was exploring Nama and Pappa’s house last night. Several times he said,   ” Nama, i member this!”  Kingston is a young three year old, he has been to our home a generous handful of time.  Nama and Pappa’s is a long trip from California.  But he remembers, he is being affected by our choices.  We are imprinting those around us whether we are intentional about it or not.  (the paci is because Daddy is in California and Mamma is in Milwaukee and Nama and Pappa are pushovers.)  Sorry Travis and Melissa, but not all that sorry.

Read something of value today.  Stop the rat race long enough to reflect on what you want to remember about today.  Make time to invest in another life.  Build a relationship.  Share a story of hope.  Decide what things matter most and do those things intentionally and with all of your heart.

I am going to snuggle those big brown eyes while his sissy sleeps.  In 48 hours he will be on a plane headed back to California with his mamma.  If we want him to care what we have to say 15 years from now, we will have to prove to him we care and are worthy of his time by sharing legos, and tigers and Toy Story now.

Blog Business: i am not apologizing for the poor iphone pictures.  The phone is what i could reach at the moment and that was good enough for me.

Are you tired of my “why the little i?” links yet ?

You should really try that Banana Bread, it is good.  Our Cody has eaten most of a loaf.

 

7 Simple Steps to The Best Sweet Corn Ever

may 28, 2014 by nama

YOU NEED:

Fresh Corn (bought mine at Aldi, pre-husked)

Lemon Juice, fresh or bottled (i almost always use bottled)

Granulated Sugar or Alternative Sweetener ( i am learning about these, sugar is not kind to me)

Large Kettle, Water and Ice

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1.  Remove husks and silk from Sweet Corn.

2.  Place corn in cooking kettle and cover with cold water.  If the corn will be sitting for more than 30 minutes before you cook, add some ice to keep the corn fresh.

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3.  For each 4 quarts of water and ice you used:  add 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice.  This will tenderize the corn and add a very nice subtle  flavor.

Alternative Sweeteners ://Namafish.com

Learning to use Alternative Sweeteners

4.  For each 4 quarts of water and ice you used:  add 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or alternative sweetener.  Mix in.  Sweet deliciousness!

***No Salt Please, salt will make the corn tough.***

5.  Allow the corn to soak for at least 30 minutes.  Longer is fine, if you plan to serve the corn later in the week you may refrigerator for several day.

When you are ready to cook the corn, drain off most of the water and ice, leave about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom of the kettle.  You will steam the corn rather than boil it.  Steaming locks all the sweet yummy flavor in each kernel. Roasting and grilling are also great options here.  Boiling = all the flavor washing down the drain.  This is sad.

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6. Stand the corn on end in kettle, cover and turn the heat on high.  Remember to leave 1/2 inch of  water in the bottom of the kettle.

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7.  Cook on high until the corn turns a dark golden color.  This will typically take 5-7 minutes.  My kettle is a 12 quart stock pot.

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When your corn reaches this deep rich golden color turn off the heat, cover and allow to sit until you are ready to serve.

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Most of my clan adds a bunch of butter, salt and pepper to their corn at this point.  I like a dash of Tabasco sauce and fresh cilantro.  If you haven’t tried it you are missing out. We are split right down the middle as far as “on the cob” or cut off the cob.  i like mine off, Tim likes his on.

You don’t have to add much to fresh sweet corn for a perfect meal.  We had Turkey Italian Sausages last night.  Some of us did the traditional bun with ketchup and mustard sandwich.  i like my protein without the carbs, just along side my pile of corn.

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My Man brought me my favorite, fresh cut lilacs, from our backyard cuz he read my post yesterday and is holding up his end of this deal we made 33 years ago.  He is a keeper.

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Love Lots, Give Lots, Forgive Lots, Smell the lilacs and find some sweet corn for  your menu.  Life is that simple if we let it be.

Tell me, what is on your menu this week?

Sweet and Tender Corn, My Favorite ://Namafish.com

Sweet and Tender Corn, The Best ://Namafish.com

An image for you to Pin, cuz i am kind like that.

We Choose Happily Ever After

may 27, 2014 by nama

Sunday Mornings we look pretty good.  Tuesday evenings can be a whole different story.  For years we have been asked, “How do you make marriage work?”IMG_3797

They don’t ask about happy, just work.  Maybe happy is too much to hope for.

For years we have had a reliable repertoire of replies.

“We are committed to fighting.”

“Hmmm” with a shoulder shrug.

“We are both tenacious and stubborn, we just keep going.”

There is this raised eyebrow, every so slight smile thing Tim does when he respects the question but doesn’t have a formulated reply.

Honestly, much of our 33 years together we have just been doing our best, muddling along, seeking, asking, talking, working hardhoping we are getting enough of  “it” right to give us “Good”.001

If opposites attract, we are ATTRACTED, like the opposite ends of a magnet.

Tim is a strong introvert, i am an over the top relational extravert.  If men have 7,000 words to use in a day,Tim being every budget wise allows himself perhaps 4 to 5 thousand.  A woman’s typical 20,000 words probably lands somewhere in the 30,000’s for me.

Tim told me shortly after we were married that one of his concerns before he proposed was that he would get weary of my constant chatter.  I recently told Tim (keeping with the current personality evaluation trend) “as an extrovert married to an introvert i have been lonely since we said “I Do”.”  A wise 3rd party in the conversation pointed out that Tim probably stopped talking 33 years ago, realizing there was no point in competing with my word count and strength.  Tim smiled.

A couple years ago Tim approached me about the possibility of doing a large remodel on our kitchen.  I hate disorder, mess, dust and lack of control, in general all things that construction brings to your world (my home in this case).  Tim thrives in creativity, the unknown, new, demolition and dust + he really wanted to turn our 1960’s tangerine kitchen into my pinterest board.  My reply was this,  “You know i will be unkind and bossy and crabby for the entire project.”   Tim’s reply,  “Yup, I am okay with that.”  So we started the project.  You will be pleased to hear i was mostly kind.  I will show you pictures some day.  i am so grateful for the kitchen My Man built.IMG_7750

We are very different, i do not tend to leave a sleeping dog lie.  i need to point out, work it through, understand and be understood.  Tim may not even notice the sleeping dog, and he would never beat a dead horse.  i need more, Tim just needs a little peace and quiet.

We do like each other, we like each other more each and every day.  More with each anniversary we add to our tally.  The more we work and build and commit to each other the more we respect, and like and love each other.  We love each other till death do us part.

But the facebook status’s that say…

“My very best buddy, best friend ever”, or

“No one brings me more joy than you and only you every single moment of our live long life!”  don’t always ring true here.

We work hard, what we have involves lots of commitment and forgiving and starting over.  Some weeks i connect more easily with a girlfriend  (she has more words).  Tim finds more calm and refreshment putting up sheetrock with a man friend or throwing a football with his sons somedays.  We are not each other’s everything.  i don’t think this marriage thing was ever intended to fill each other’s every need.

We choose to love what we have together.  We choose to say “I love you” often.  We try hard to put the other first especially when it feels like i haven’t been first in, Oh.. let’s say forever.

i have a favorite book that is ragged from page turning.  Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  The subtitle is: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

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What if ?

Am i still in this deal if being made more like my Saviour is promised but HAPPY is always just a bit elusive?  If you wonder why this lifetime commitment isn’t making you happy, please get this book.  It is worth your time and money.  Read it with an open heart, a soft teachable spirit.  It will change everything.  Life changer.  Marriage mender.

My longtime favorite is getting a nudge from this recent find, This Momentary Marriage by John Piper.  You can get a free PDF copy at the teal link.

In his book John Piper explains this passage of scripture:

Mark 10:8–9  

‘The two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 

When a couple speaks their vows, it is not a man or a woman or a pastor or parent who is the main actor—the main doer. God is. God joins a husband and a wife into a one-flesh union. God does that. The world does not know this. Which is one of the reasons why marriage is treated so casually. And Christians often act like they don’t know it, which is one of the reasons marriage in the church is not seen as the wonder it is. Marriage is God’s doing because it is a one-flesh union that God himself performs.  ~ John Piper in The Momentary Marriage

One Flesh.

Is it any wonder there is endless pain and mess when we chose to rip that one flesh into two?

My passion for God honoring Marriage runs deep.  i come from a twice broken home.  i wrote endless letters as a little girl to my daddy asking him to love Jesus and come back to our family.  In my teens i pleaded with my God to please give me a husband that would love Jesus and build a home that honored Jesus,a man who would teach our children of Christ’s Love.  My mom was a God honoring woman, she spent many years raising 6 rowdy children on her own, she did an exceptional job.  i still was painfully aware this is not how it was meant to be and i longed to have a whole home someday.

Somewhere into our first year of marriage a bicker over something small sent me down the path of…

“This will not work, we may as well quit now, divorce is where we will end up, why try?”  Tim immediately responded with,

“Divorce will never be a part of our story, we may fight, we may dislike each other, we may both be miserable but we will be all those things in this home together.  Neither of us will ever say the word divorce again, it is not an option!”  The word divorce has never been spoken again.  We fight, we annoy the living daylights out of each other, we are lonely and sad some days. We get up and we do another day together because His Holy Word commands us “let no man separate!”

In our Lord’s gracious love, the hard work brings harvest.  One of my favorite things to do has become sitting silently with my man over a dinner out.  Quietly treasuring what He is building for us.  Somedays Tim asks me for more words, he was sad that i have felt lonely.IMG_3861

Nothing of worth comes about without hard work.  Why do we so easily give up on the one commitment that promises immeasurable pay out as soon it feels more like work than the latest chick-flick released from Hollywood.

One of our sons and his bride used this song in their wedding.  It says it all.  Listen, pray and commit to the fight.  Love is not a fight.

Happily Ever After

Till Death do us Part

 

 

What’s your stopping price??

SAMSUNG

May 20, 2014  by Pappafish

Earlier this spring I was sitting in a left turn lane waiting for the green arrow that would send me on my way to lunch.  I glanced down and saw what I thought was a $5 bill laying crumpled and peaking from under the snow in the gutter beneath my window.  I only saw enough to be 50% sure it was legitimately a $5 bill.

I knew I had only seconds to decide if I should unbuckle, put the truck in park, get out and investigate.  I also knew that the crossing traffic light had gone yellow and I would be backing up traffic if I were to get out which would undoubtedly get a few impatient honks and maybe even some sort of salute if you know what I mean. But the thought of a free cheeseburger and fries was too tempting, so I slammed the truck into park, jumped out and freed the scrap of paper from it’s icy bondage.  To my delight I was rewarded with a soggy, but still valid Federal Reserve Note which I could immediately return to circulation.  Well, maybe I’d let it dry for a day first.

I have noticed coins laying in the gutter in this exact situation before.  Pennies; stopping never crossed my mind.  Nickels; likewise.  I recently drove off on a quarter, but I did check my rearview mirror on that one.  If it hadn’t been for the 3 cars behind me, I would have most certainly dove into the gutter for those 2 bits.

So, looking back on it, my stopping price is somewhere between $.25 and $5.  What is yours????

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This experience got me thinking.  In general, what will we stop for?  At what expense will we interrupt our busy schedule to get involved in an unexpected detour.  Would you stop if you drove past a women on the freeway, alone, with a flat?  Would you consider the time of day or the traffic, or the proximity to the nearest town before you pulled over?  It could cost you being late for work, or not getting home at your usual time.  Everyone has cell phones now, surely she can call her husband or father or ?.

What about if you saw kids rough-housing on the playground.  Would you slow enough to try and figure out if both children were willing partners in this tet-a-tet?  Would you stop if it was obvious he or she was not?  The price is somewhere between $Not-worth-my-time and $Emotionally-too-costly.

As followers of Christ, I believe, our obligation (and reward) come into play here.  We ARE CALLED to be vested in other peoples struggles, but rarely do we heed.  It is too easy in our society to be sealed in the sanitary plastic wrapper of home/car/cell phone conversation, isolated from the plight and suffering of others, however minute it may seem to us at the time.

As Paul said – “I am chief among the sinners” and I think I am most often guilty of driving off into the sunset, or to lunch.  I can usually play the “get out of jail free” card that all of us introverts keep in our mental wallets.  My personality type doesn’t enjoy personal interaction.  God wired me that way so surely he won’t hold me accountable for walking past.  I’m sure he has one of those “Type A” persons in the queue and ready to get involved any minute now.  Thanks FaceBook for helping me understand myself better – I took the quiz and I’m off the hook.

Alas – Me thinks not.  I guess I’ll be stopping for the pennies.

Blessed~Babies and Birthdays

may 23, 2014 by namaIMG_0786 (2)

Our Blessing turned 10 on Wednesday, we started our day of celebration with Aldi’s Cinnamon Spirals.

IMG_4975 (2)We headed to the airport in Minneapolis to collect our California Grandbabies and their mamma. On the way we stopped at Lark Toys (i love this place) to ride a Giraffe and kiss a fish + eat ice cream.

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Our California jewels arrival means this beaming Nama and Pappa (at work) had our 4 jewels together for the very first time Thursday Morning. Bliss! IMG_4985 (2)After the airport we met our Nick at the Mall of America for more birthday hoopla, then stopped for dinner with an amazing young couple in Minneapolis, they did their part to sugar up our birthday girl with a box of 100 lollipops.

IMG_0792 (2)It was box cupcakes, Aldi pizza and FRIENDS Thursday evening to celebrate our big 10 year old.  From here on out things were practically perfect, when our Jewels are all in our nest you have a tough time convincing me there is anything worth fretting about.IMG_0804 (2)

 IMG_0912 (2)Our guests enjoyed the  plastic wrap treasure ball as much as i had hoped. WARNING : Adorable children become vulture like when treats and competition are involved.IMG_0821 (3)

Our Tiny Timothy turned two months this week, we celebrate him everyday.

IMG_0827 (2)Our Finley gets a bit concerned when she has to share her Nama and Pappa.IMG_0835 (2)With just a little time to adjust Finley was happy to share “her” books with Kingston.IMG_4997 (2)Aunty Sissa meets Timothy.IMG_5006 (2)Lots of snuggles when Pappa walks in the back door. “Pappa” “Pappa” “Pappa”

Our home is full, our hearts explode, our Blessing is blossoming into a beautiful Lego building big girl. We are Blessed beyond anything we could have imagined. We do not take a moment for granted, we serve a gracious loving Father.

We are Grateful!IMG_0924

i am off to build the Lego Dolphin Cruiser with my Blessing, Parker and Timothy, snuggle babies and run into the Frosty Mug for Friday night ice cream.

Please have an amazing weekend focusing on your abundant blessings.

 

Big Day

may 21, 2014

Happy Birthday to this amazing gift!IMG_0708

Our Blessing is 10 today. Each May 21st brings an avalanche of questions….is she really 10? How much did she weigh? Was she really born on the 21st? Was she really born in May? Was she vibrant and strong? Oh what i would give to see a squiggly newborn image of our Beauty.

In Him we Rest , He is writing Blessing’s story and it is beautiful with the details He has chosen to include.

We have a 10 year old and we have a Big day!!!!1238164_10103143007494667_8755854599589405550_n (2) We are headed to MSP airport to pick up these three. Image – our boy, who has to stay in California to pay the bills. 2:50pm, Sun Country=can not wait to hug Melissa, Kings and Rae.

IMG_3002We get to visit Legoland and have dinner with this big brother.IMG_0750We spent two hours making this crazy candy ball party game ~i’ll show you how later.IMG_0762Grandma Lovegreen and our Cody (actually Kaydra’s Cody) baked and decorated the cupcakes 
IMG_0761with a little help from this concentrator for Blessing’s Big party Thursday evening.

My Man wrote something i hope to share tomorrow and

Friday i hope to share lots of cuteness, celebration and thanksgiving for all of the Blessing we have been granted this week in this home.

Full Heart, Full schedule, need want Coffee!

Please have an amazing day loving those you have been blessed to invest in today.

For the record, our Blessing “styled”, on her own, the first image in this post. She asked for a photo shoot, and struck the pose all on her own. We also have this image of her from this week…IMG_0770

which comforts my Mamma heart and gives me hope for our teen years.