Friday, September 12, 2014

Ramblings of a Klutzy Cook

I just made a rather extraordinary mess in my kitchen, and that is saying something considering I am kind of a master at extraordinary kitchen messes and disasters. In my sad history of kitchen messes, this one probably tops it. First, this kitchen in the house we are renting at the moment was truly not designed for someone who cooks much or for a big family. It’s a small kitchen, too small, with almost no counter space whatsoever and really awkward positioning is what I am saying. We live in a house that was built in 1931, and, like all the houses in this neighborhood, it was designed to be a two-family house - with one family living on the entire bottom floor, and the other family on the top two floors, while sharing the basement. Our family currently lives on the top two floors of this wonderfully creaky, nooks-and-crannies house. You can see why I’ve mentioned before how thankful I am for a good downstairs neighbor, yes?

Anyway, I was attempting to salvage the pitiful bananas that were not going to survive one more day on the counter, so I started up a batch of two loaves of banana bread. I won’t attempt to describe what happened when the too-full bowl of batter tipped over, dumping melted butter all over the counter and dripping to the floor. I managed to rescue enough of it to continue baking, but, well, I’m glad my dog likes butter and I hope I got enough of it mopped up before he came running in to lick up the rest or his evening walk may be kind of…..interesting……tonight. I’m thinking I don’t really want to be the dog-walker tonight. :-) 

So, there are two loaves of banana bread just freshly out of the oven, and I am once again reminded that I truly need to start wearing an apron, especially when I spur-of-the-moment decide to bake banana bread while wearing my favorite Cedar Point Snoopy sweatshirt. Did I mention it’s nice and cool out today, finally? Another quirky thing about this house is….no central AC. This Florida girl is NOT used to that. So, I’m enjoying the natural AC today. NICE. Speaking of which, yesterday while driving to pick up my son from high school, I saw a guy waiting to cross the road wearing a heavy winter coat, knit cap, hood, scarf up over his nose and mouth, hunched over with hands in his pockets like it was the blizzard of 2014 or something. It was 62 degrees out. I was just finally feeling cooled off from the stifling, sweltering heat of no AC in my house for the past several hot days. Dude, if you’re that cold now, winter is going to be rough. Or so, I’m constantly being told. I met a new friend the other day, and as we were chatting she asked where I was from originally. I told her I grew up in Florida. She grinned ruefully and said, “You’re really not going to like winter here….” Yes, I hear that a lot. I can only imagine the tundra-like conditions awaiting us here this winter. And my brother-in-law told me once that we won’t see the sun after Labor Day. Turns out he wasn’t actually kidding. Gray and drizzly again today….

But, I digress. Back to my kitchen adventures, while I was cleaning up my colossal, greasy, buttery mess, I was reflecting on how I really wasn’t in the mood for baking today, and maybe I should have just stayed with that thought and let the bananas go rather than get into this this afternoon. So, word to the wise Sweet Tea people in my home, the proper response to this freshly baked banana bread this afternoon will be, “Why, Mother! You made our favorite! This is the most wonderful banana bread in all the world!” Even if it isn’t. :-)

Then I got to wondering if I really and truly had the energy to go on to the next cooking project on my agenda for today……homemade salsa. I really didn’t. But, my 10th-grade son made the comment the other day that for some reason he always craves salsa and chips when he comes home. “Spanish is last period, isn’t it?” I said. Little grin and, “Yes. Yes it is,” he answered. Then he made the comment that he hoped I would make more of my salsa soon because we were almost out and mine is just the best, so much better than the store-bought kind. How can I refuse that? So, salsa is simmering on the stove now, too. And I managed not to make a mess with it. Yet. The day is still young.

Now that I’m done cooking for a bit, I think I’m going to take a break and read a book. I’ve got some good ones going. I just finished True for You, But Not for Me: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith by Paul Copan. Now I’m reading something purely for fun because my 8th-grader and I were super happy that the seventh book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series, The Revealed, came out this month. It arrived at our house on Wednesday in a little box of happiness from Amazon, and I am reading it and loving it as much as I’ve loved the rest of the series. And, yes, I’m reading it first. Kiddo has to read a lot for school. I do not. I get to read it first. And I can hardly put it down. Next I’m planning to read Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. This one my high school boy had to read for school and he wants me to read it so he can discuss it with me. I love that. I’ve also got Jesus Unmasked by Todd Friel and The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung waiting in the wings. And all of them are real books, not on my Kindle, so I could actually call this a what’s on my nightstand paragraph. The books really are stacked around the house. It’s been a while since I’ve read non-Kindle books. 

So, that’s a glimpse at my Friday. Hope you’re having a good Friday, too. :-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Finding My Song Again

I may have mentioned a time or two that our family moved this summer. Moved right out of my comfort zone into a new city, that is. We are a military family. We move often. I have gotten somewhat used to this, but you never really get used to moving, I don’t care how often you do it. At least, I don’t. Until I went to college, I lived in the same house in Florida since I was a year old. My parents still live there. 

Moving is listed among those major life change events, and there are certain stresses that go with that, even when you are prepared. We’ve been through several of those recently, what with my husband being away all of last year for Army school, us selling the house we really liked, the kids and I living in a small cavelike apartment while he was gone, then moving immediately when he got home. In fact, once he got ‘home’ the movers came and packed us up. We didn’t get much time to reconnect before we were facing the stress of a major move, not only moving house, but moving to a big city I had never even set foot in before we pulled up in front of the house we rented, sight unseen, ready to move in. I could go on, but suffice to say, it’s been a stressful summer, and it hit me harder than I anticipated. 

One of the reasons this move is harder than some is that we lived in Kentucky for four years and had to leave some close friends who I very much miss today, and we know we are only here for a year, so we will be doing this all again next summer, and mentally it’s really hard to settle in and want to connect with people when you know you won’t be here long. It’s a hard thing to ask your high school sophomore to leave the high school and friends he dearly loves, along with the marching band program that was such a big part of his last two years and all the awesomeness that went with that, knowing we’re going to uproot him again next summer. Poor guy is going to have to be the new kid again next year. But in spite of it all, he’s been attending band camp at his new school this week, and though it’s very different from what he’s used to, I think it is proving to be a good experience for him. He plays the trumpet, and there are 65 trumpets, out of 374 kids on the field! That 65 trumpets is almost as big as all the winds combined in his old school. Wowza. These schools are ginormous. My middle school son was ready to go, but now that he’s seen how HUGE his new middle school is, I think we’re all feeling a little bit antsy as we think about how daunting it feels to be starting there next week. My little daughter, who cried for MONTHS before we left Kentucky, bounced the whole way home from her school open house last night. She can’t wait to start school. I think one of the hardest things about moving is seeing the kids hurting, but it’s such a joy to watch them adjust, and adjust well. God is so kind to us. I really believe He has given them the fortitude they need for all this upheaval, and my aim is for our home to be a safe place in the midst of the storm.

We live in this quirky community just outside Cleveland, OH, that is very diverse and is the weirdest, most difficult place to drive in I’ve encountered yet. Whoever designed the intersections here had to have been high on something. At least, that’s what I’ve been known to say in my more frustrated moments. But, in the midst of having to take my oldest to band camp every day this week and various orientations and venturings out, I’m finally feeling a little bit more competent about driving here. At least I know how to find the schools now, and can get from one to the other. It was a bit iffy there for a while whether I’d ever be able to even leave my driveway. I hate to drive in a normal situation, and here it kind of terrifies me, but I’m coming along. All in all, it is going to be quite an interesting year. We’ve kind of entered bizarro world in a way. We were told that here the cool kids are in the band, and the football games, well, people pretty much come for the band. It’s a very music-centered community. 

Another minor thing I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, having grown up in Florida, is most places have no central AC. We haven’t really needed it most days, but there have been a few hot ones. Wowza. Of course, this means that we all have our windows open, and as the house next door’s windows are seriously only a narrow driveway’s width away, when my neighbor over there watches inane daytime TV all day long and keeps it turned up a little too loud, sometimes I can feel my brain melting. But she doesn’t do that every day. Thankfully. We live on the top two floors of this nifty, creaky, nooks-and-crannies old house, shared with the downstairs neighbor who has the bottom floor. Thankfully, again, she’s friendly and we sometimes go walking together. 

Then again, I hesitate to complain about the heat too much, because people seem to take a perverse joy in warning us just how much snow we can expect this winter. Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel any better about driving.

We have found a great church, one which I knew as soon as I heard that we were moving to Cleveland that I hoped we’d get to attend. I only wish we could have found a house a bit closer, but it’s totally worth the drive to hear such a feast of great Bible teaching and gospel-saturated worship. 

So, I say all that to say that I kind of hit a patch of the blues this summer. Moving is HARD, and as I keep saying, this one’s had its own peculiar challenges. Through it all, I’ve tried to keep positive, but those blues did hit even as I pushed through them. And in the midst of those blues, I lost my song. I still sang at church, because sometimes worship is singing through the blues and offering a sacrifice of praise, but at home and in the car, I lost my desire to sing. I just didn’t feel like it. 

Until today. Today, while driving somewhere, and feeling the most competent I’ve felt yet about driving here, a song came on my iPod, and I just had to sing along. We’ve been introduced to the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty at our new church, and I just had to sing when one of their praise songs came on in the car today. Then it occurred to me, I think the fog is finally lifting, and I have finally found my song again. Thank God, after the past two months of singing through the fog, I finally want to sing again, a song of worship to my King.

Aren’t you glad that we serve a risen Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, our great High Priest, our Advocate who allows us into the very throne room of God. Aren’t you glad that even when the fog descends, He allows us to praise Him, because of what we KNOW, even when our feelings don’t seem to want to catch up. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Psalm 40:3 
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 96:1
Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!

Psalm 98:1

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Little Summer Stream Of Consciousness to Keep the Blog Alive Another Day

I found a seeded watermelon at the store!! Hooray! We can now teach our kids the joys of spitting watermelon seeds, which should really be a part of every kid's summer, Don’t you think. (Just so you know, the only reason there is not a question mark there where one should be is because that key is not working since a nameless child spilled Gatorade on the keyboard the other day. I’m guessing we will be shopping for a new keyboard shortly.) Besides, seedless watermelons are just NOT as tasty, and there's GOT to be something just WRONG about a seedless watermelon. It's just not natural. :-) So that was a good thing about shopping at my new grocery store yesterday. On the other hand, I looked up and down the canned vegetable and fruit aisle for canned tomatoes and all I could find were a measly few cans of organic which cost a lot more for negligible benefit (DO NOT even start with me on organic vs. regular, please. I don’t buy into all that, and you won’t change my mind, and I shop on a budget, so let’s just agree to disagree before we have the discussion), but I took a can since I needed it to make my homemade salsa which I'd been craving (store bought salsa just does NOT compare. Mine is immensely more tasty, as my husband and children will tell you). Anyway, later I ended up by accident on the 'Italian' aisle, and low and behold, there were shelves and shelves of…..canned tomatoes. Because OF COURSE that's where you would naturally think to look FIRST for canned tomatoes because it's not like you might want them for something OTHER than Italian food, like, say…..salsa, or something. I have yet to find pepperoni in this store, by the way. And, yes, I have checked the Italian aisle, which actually MIGHT make sense. One of the goofy things that makes the nomadic life of an Army family which means moving all the time a pain is you no sooner figure out all your everyday things when you have to go find and figure out new ones in a new place. I REALLY need to find someone to cut my hair. I'm starting to look like the shaggy dog. On the other hand, I had gotten myself into a right blue funk the other day about how I don’t really like it here and can I really live a year here, blah, blah, blah, blah.....when I got a wake up call just by reading my newsfeed. Then I realized I have NOTHING to complain about, shape up, already, and my heart has gotten so heavy for the REAL heartache in the world. I am praying for Iraq, and Israel, and Africa, and so many others who really are suffering. Who am I to complain about the goofed up organizational skills of my local grocery store, for crying out loud. And one really incredibly good thing about where we live is that we have an awesome church we’ve been attending and are moving toward joining. That is a blessing that far outweighs the angst over moving to a new place. This is a church where the Word is opened and read and preached WELL every week, and the Gospel is central to all that happens there. We are encouraged and challenged and that is amazing, and I’m grateful.

So, all told, it’s been an interesting summer round the ol’ Sweet Tea household. I really do intend to start blogging again one day. Until such a time, however, this will have to do, and by the way if you haven't checked it in a while, I've updated my current reading list for 2014, so you can see what I've been reading lately if you're interested in such things. Ciao!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Status Report - July 2014

Blog status reports are usually written at the beginning of the month, but seeing as I seem to have dropped any semblance of regular blog posting for quite some time now, I figure halfway through July isn’t a bad time to pop in for a status report, since so much in my world has changed recently. So, this will be the July 2014 Status Report - ‘Just Moved’ version. my new computer area off the kitchen in my new house in Ohio. Yes, we’ve moved again. Army life, you know. This time we’re only here for a year, so we get to do all this fun again next summer. Woo and hoo.

Reading.The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It's one I had heard of but never read before, but someone in a book group I belong to on Facebook mentioned reading it and loving it,  so I'm trying it. Like it so far. I also just finished a series by Terri Blackstock that I LOVED. (Last Light, Night Light, True Light, and Dawn's Light). I'm not usually all that fond of Christian fiction, but I really liked this series. I want to read more by that author.

Thankful....most of the unpacking is finished, and we actually got rid of a lot this time around. Goodwill and the half-price bookstore have seen a great deal of my husband over the past two weeks. I’m proud of him for letting go of so many books and things! This move was one of the most difficult yet, since we had the stuff I and the kids lived with last year in the cavelike apartment in Kentucky after we sold the house, the stuff that was in storage for a year after moving from that larger house to a small apartment, and the stuff my husband lived with in his ‘van down by the river’ for his year of Army-Baylor school in Texas all coming here together at once. But we’ve purged better this time than we ever have before, so next move should be a little easier, at least as far as ‘stuff’ goes. have my husband home again, even though that meant we had to uproot and move for a year. It is so right to be together as a family again. Last year was HARD for all of us. Glad it’s behind us. 

Sad, but excited...for my kids who will start new schools here in this city this fall. It’s going to be quite an adventure, that’s for sure, and I’m especially sensitive to how hard it is for my high school son to have to uproot not once, but twice during high school - this summer and next. But all three kids are facing this with remarkable grace. God has truly blessed us in how He is working in their lives, and it’s a joy to watch.

Out of my comfort zone.....with living in this city in the greater Cleveland area. I’m not a city girl at all, but with my husband doing a one year stint on loan from the Army to Cleveland Clinic, we didn’t want a huge commute for him, so we’re learning how to live the city life.  Driving makes me nervous. It’s not really that bad except for the crazy intersections and weird no turn signs. Seriously, there’s one intersection that says no right turn, no left turn, and straight is a confusing road to find. We laugh about that one all the time. “You can’t go left, you can’t go right, and there doesn’t seem to be a straight. Where do I GO???” And the honking. Seriously, people. Honking does not make the light change faster and it doesn’t make the car in front of me go faster, either. Give the guy time to move his foot from the brake to the gas pedal when the light turns. And my husband has introduced us to this thing called riding the train into the city. There’s a station within walking distance of our house. I don’t so much like it, but I’ll do it if he’s with me. And the garage behind our house? We joke that I may be stuck in the house all year because I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to back out of it. It’s a long, narrow driveway, and I’m not the best parker or backer. We’ve also decided our little city state here is a socialist state. If there’s a rule to be made, they’ve thought of it and made it. Don’t, Don’t, Don’t everywhere you look. Wowza. But there is a lot good, too. We live in the top half of this really cool old house, and our neighbor is a nice lady. Good to have a good neighbor if you have to share a creaky old house. This is the first time I’ve ever lived in a house with no central AC. I grew up in Florida, y’all.  But it hasn’t been all that bad. It’s only a year, and we plan on making the best of it, finding lots of neat things to do - the symphony is supposed to be one of the very best, museums, restaurants, shopping, and lots more. They say it snows a lot here in the winter. Oh boy.....

Listing....some of the hard things about moving:
  • Getting over my culture shock and learning my way around
  • Finding a new church. We’ve visited two, but we are pretty much in agreement about where we want to go, I think. When I first heard we were moving to Cleveland, there was one church I really wanted to go to, and now that we’ve visited another good church too, it’s really neat that as my husband and I talked and prayed, though both are good options, the one we really wanted to go to seems to be the one we both are sensing a real peace about going to, even though it’s quite a drive from our house. I have listened to the pastor there for years on podcast and learned so much, that it will be a joy to be able to attend this church for a year with our children.
  • Losing sentimental things along the way. This is kind of a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but as we were emptying a dresser for my husband to use, I realized that a stack of cards I had kept that friends had sent after each miscarriage has gone missing. I know it’s just cards, but they have meaning to me, and I hate to lose them. I’m sure they were in that drawer, but I’m hoping maybe somewhere along the way I put them somewhere else and we will come across them. I don’t rehash those sad memories all the time, but those cards were special to me in the acknowledgement that the loss of those children and the grief we have over them is real and valid, and the kind words shared by my friends at those times are things I treasured.
  • New things. I’ve never been very good with change. I’m getting better, but this one has been harder than some.

Thinking....this may end up being kind of a lonely year, but I want to be constructive with it and do some writing. We drove past a Panera today, and I reallly, really, really miss my special girl friends from Kentucky and our marathon lunches there. You know who you are, and you’re special ladies. I miss y’all, and I’m thankful we were in Kentucky at the same time. 

Thankful...for God’s amazing grace. I know that He is with us, wherever we can go. I know that He has placed our family together and placed us here for this season, and what I want most to do is seek to glorify Him and grow closer to Him throughout this year, and the years to come. And I’m thankful we do have a solid, gospel-preaching, Bible teaching church with which to join ourselves.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Alternative Medicine, Some Thoughts After a Book I Just Finished Reading

As I write this post, I am aware that several of my friends and probably family think I am over thinking this topic, or that I am alarmist or legalistic about it. No one’s said much to me directly, but I know there are people who this think way when I often voice the concerns I have with many practices that would fall under the umbrella of alternative medicine or exercise that are linked to New Thought/New Age/Contemplative/Mindfulness/Vital Energy types of thinking. I assure you, however, my intentions in posting and bringing it up so often are not from a legalistic mindset. I am genuinely concerned that there is a danger involved in these practices that many people who consider themselves to be theologically conservative and evangelical and biblical just do not see or have not adequately investigated. My plea is that if you are interested and involved in yoga, chiropractic, mindfulness or contemplative meditation, alternative medicine of various stripes, holistic worldview - medicine/food/etc., homeopathy, reiki, certain types of massage therapy, and anything that is presented as ‘spiritual’ but not ‘religious’, please at least investigate the worldview and assumptions that the practitioners are bringing with them as you participate in them. 

Just because something is said to be ‘spiritual’ but not ‘religious’ does NOT mean that it is not, in fact, religious. And it does not mean that it is necessarily wholesome or innocent or harmless. Just because wording is changed from ‘spiritual’ sounding or ‘religious’ sounding terms to make it seem more scientifically bent, does not necessarily mean that the practitioner isn’t influenced spiritually in a way that would and should disturb a Christian participant. As the author of the book I am going to recommend below argues, participating in alternative medicine and activities that are based on certain worldviews and assumptions can change your thinking and religious understandings and attitudes in subtle ways that you might not even recognize for a long time. I do not believe I am just being alarmist or over thinking things. Truly I’m not. 

Christianity is a thinking faith. Think with me for a moment - if a practitioner is taught to seek ‘spiritual guidance’ as they manipulate energy or prescribe activities and ‘medicines’ that IS religious. Not everything that is spiritual comes from a good source. What are you opening yourself up to? Do you know? What spirit guides is that provider contacting and bringing with them? Do you know what the terms being used in your exercise/meditation/holistic medicine, etc. program really mean? Not how you interpret their meaning through your lens, but what is actually meant? If the root is questionable or from a worldview that is not biblical, can the fruit be something you really want yourself open to? 

I know, I know, you love your chiropractor, he’s even a professing Christian. I know, I know, your yoga program is just exercise, you aren’t buying into the spiritual stuff. I know, I know, your ‘natural’ homeopathic medicine works for you. Please, at least do some homework and look into the root of these things. Please at least give this serious, considered investigation. 

I recently listened to an episode of Thinking in Public with Albert Mohler titled, “Are we all syncretists now? - A conversation about evangelical Christianity and alternative medicine with historian Candy Gunther Brown.”  Because the topic deals with something I am increasingly interested and concerned about, I got the book they discussed, The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America by Candy Gunther Brown, for my Kindle and have just finished reading it. Dr. Brown, to the best of my knowledge, is not an evangelical writing from the inside. She is a professor of religious studies writing this from the outside looking in at evangelicals, and she makes a good observation about how astonishing it is that evangelical Christians seem to unquestioningly accept alternative medicine. She also makes a good argument that providers of these forms of medical help and exercise should have an ethical obligation to be upfront with the nature of their interventions so people can make an informed decision about using them. Often providers obscure the religious nature or the worldview assumptions underlying the treatments/programs in order to make them seem more acceptable for people who might otherwise not participate. 

I found this book important, fascinating, and disturbing on some levels, and I highly recommend it to my friends who may use or are thinking about investigating alternative medicine, mindfulness meditation, contemplative spirituality, yoga, holistic medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic, and other complementary and alternative medicine/stress relief/ exercise, etc. Please at least be informed about it. 

I really do not believe I’m being alarmist or legalistic. I’m just saying do your homework and be aware that just because something is called ‘spiritual’ doesn’t mean it isn’t ‘religious,’ and the religious ideas you’re opening yourself to may not be something you want. Just because someone ‘in the know’ assures you it is compatible with Christianity is NO guarantee it is something that it is wise for a serious Christian to join with.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zombie Apocalypse, Anyone?

This sign is prominently displayed at the front of the radiology clinic waiting room right by the TV, but looking around the waiting room, every single person had his or her head buried in their own little cell phone world, fingers swiping. Does it bother anyone that our generation is incapable of sitting still with our own thoughts at all, not even for a short moment? That the minute we sit down anywhere for even a second we must have the stupid smart phone out and lose ourselves in that insulated little zombie world of the tiny screen? Does it even phase anyone how rude it is to pull out that dumb phone and show the top of your head to the person sitting across the table from you at a restaurant? Does anyone else feel a profound sadness when you're out somewhere and you see a family or a group of friends tecnhnically together, but effectually separate, not conversing with each other and barely even acknowledging each other, as they all hover over their individual little screens?

For all the talk about a zombie apocalypse, I think the time for fearing it is gone - we are already zombies. 

And the irony of the fact that I took this picture and am writing this post  with my phone is not lost on me. But at least I waited until I was home alone. :-\

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Joys

I think Spring is finally springing here in our town. I went away to Texas for a week during spring break and came back to beautiful white pear trees, daffodils and green grass. Ahhhhh. And allergies, sore throat, stuffy nose, dizzy head, stuffy sinuses. But that kind of goes with the territory, I guess.

Here are some things I love about Spring, in no particular order:

Birds singing in the morning. LOVE the birds. I didn't realize how much I'd missed them in the early morning until I heard them the other day when I was walking my dog in the dark hour before sunrise. There was a robin sitting on the corner of the roof just chirping and singing and I loved it. It's just such a HAPPY sound.

Green grass. It's amazing what a luscious, welcome sight green grass is after all the brown, brown, brown and white, white, white of the dead grass and snow. Every spring I'm amazed how quickly the grass greens up when the weather starts warming.

Daffodils and tulips. How I love the simple joy of seeing those cheerful flowers blooming. I drove by my old house yesterday just to see if any of the bulbs I've planted the past few years bloomed this spring. I'd forgotten just how happy those daffodils looked. It was lovely. I am thankful our house sold when it did since we have to move away this summer, but I do miss my yard and flowers and my warm, sunny back deck.

Mornings sunny and warm enough to sit on my little back porch before the sun goes over the building and leaves our back yard in shadow for the rest of the day. I've been having a lovely morning today sitting in a rocking chair on the back porch enjoying a cup of Irish Breakfast tea and reading my Bible. How I've missed sunny, warm weather.

The newness of watching the trees and flowers and grass come back to life. That never gets old. What a beautiful reminder of God's mercies, which are new every morning.

Getting to wear my capris again.

Celebrating Easter. Thinking about our Savior's great love and mercy and grace.

Talking with my little girl about how every season has it's joys when she asks me which one is my favorite. I honestly couldn't say any of them were my favorite. I love Summer with it's warmth and freedom; I love, love, love Fall when the weather cools and the air turns crisp and the leaves turn glorious colors, and camp fires and the indefinable something in the air as I walk the neighborhood and enjoy the scarecrows and corn decorations and everything that goes with Fall (ok, maybe I'm a little partial to Fall) - having grown up in Florida where we didn't really have a true Fall, I never get tired of that season; I like the first snow and the anticipation of Christmas, but I will say that winter is the one season that I do feel seems to drag on toward the end, especially in February, that longest of all short months, it's the one that I probably tire of quickest because of its overabundance of gray and dismal and COLD days, even though I'll never get over the joy of watching snow fall (Florida girl again); and back to Spring, which seems ever so much more of a relief after the harshness of winter. Florida girl again, but I didn't really appreciate the absolute joy of Spring and the anticipation of waiting for it until I experienced the real winter of the Midwest. Florida, for all the complaining about the few 'cold' days we had each year, does not experience WINTER.

And of course I mustn't forget walks with my little girl and her beautiful weed bouquets. She thinks they are beautiful flowers, and I'm not going to try to convince her otherwise today.

Happy Spring!