Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Look Back At 2008

As 2008, comes to a close I pondered writing my obligatory resolutions post for about 2.3 seconds but decided that since I won't keep them anyway it would be a waste of time. Instead, I thought it would be F-U-N to take a look back and revisit some of the biggest stories of 2008.

1. The United States had an historic presidential election with the Republicans presenting their first ever female vice president candidate and the overwhelming majority of US voters electing the first black president to office.

2. Governor Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested on corruptions charges for trying to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. This absurdly arrogant man is still thumbing his nose at every single American by refusing to relinquish his Governorship and going so far as to 'appoint' Roland Burris to fill the seat even as the Senate Dems vow to overturn his appointment. O'Reilly would call him a pinhead and I have to agree.(I can only imagine the 'mouth on the forehead' look this must cause Helen.)

3. New York's Elliot Spitzer's Governorship came to a screeching halt when it was brought to light that he was buying sex through an illegal prostitution ring. He 'got off' easy since no charges were filed against him. (Did I miss where prostitution was made legal in New York or something?)

4. China hosted the Summer Olympic Games and Michael Phelps became a record-setting swimming phenon winning a total of eight gold medals. That is awesomeness and he has a really cool mom.

5. Congress passed a $700 BILLION bailout for the financial world with no strings attached. Meaning the banks don't have to give an accounting of how they spend MY tax dollars. This ticks me off.

6. Oil hit $100/barrel then dropped to $40/barrel when the global recession hit.

7. An Iraqi reporter threw a shoe (at Bush). He should have thrown it at Blagojevich.

8. Plaxico Burress shot off his mouth in the off season about his football contract and then shot off his loaded gun while it was pointed at his foot.

9. The Duggar family welcomed their 18th bundle of joy.

10. Gas dropped from $4/gallon to $1.59/gallon (at least in Bend anyway).

11. I made some really cool friends and you can read their wickedly funny blogs by checking out my Blog Roll. (OK, maybe this wasn't Foxnews or CNN big, but it was to me.)

12. Paris is still Paris and now she has the Barbie Car she's always wanted, complete with monogrammed leather seats and pink wheels. Ridiculous.

13. Foreclosures are at an all-time high and unemployment is soaring.

14. Someone Googled 'Tom Cruise Carbonara Opera' and landed on Buzz By Annie's. Seriously. Maybe Tom Cruise makes a couch jumping amazing make-you-sing-like-Pavaroti carbonara but I'll take him on any day with my own recipe. I'm throwing down the challenge. Have his people call my people.

These are just a few of the highlights and lowlights of 2008. While it seems that there were more lows than highs this year, I like to dwell on the fact that I have my family, friends, health, home, happiness and a relationship with a really cool God that is bigger than any news going on in the world. I wish you all a very safe and blessed New Year and I hope you are filled much peace and happiness in 2009.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Of My Favorite Christmas Pics

This year, Christmas was quiet and relaxing and that is very ok with me. The one bummer was that my son was in another town with his dad, so I have no Christmas pictures with him in them(therefore I'm going to post a picture of him from last Christmas). It was just Jon, Kenzi and me and we spent Christmas eve and Christmas morning over at my parents. I'm going to post some of my favorite pictures from Christmas 2008. Enjoy!

Me and my kidz...!


Mmmmmmm...Kenz and Jon sharing a treat!


Enthusiasm for opening the gifts!


On our way to Grandma and Grandpa's house...


Teenagers...


The best parents in the world!


Me and my sweetie!


Me, ma and the beeg brother...


The girlz....


Boz loves Christmas at Grandpa's house!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow....Snowing....Snowing Some More....

So it's snowing like crazy here and I've been 'chatting' with Mare in Africa. If you can believe it, there's not a lick of snow in Nigeria. I know, hard to believe. So, I thought I'd share a little video I took this morning of Boz out in the snow. It's snowing twice as hard now and we're expecting up to 12". Madness. Here you go Mare - it's a virtual winter wonderland! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Diggin' The Apple Cake

For Christmas we are having a brunch instead of the traditional turkey, ham or prime rib feast (although I'm second guessing not having prime rib now that I mention it). Anyway, this past weekend I decided to try out a new recipe to see if it would be included in the brunch and it most definitely will. I'm not a big sweets eater but this apple cake was awesome. The recipe is very basic so even Katdish can bake with success. There are fresh chunks of apple in all that goodness and it's topped with brown sugar, cinnamon and a warm vanilla sauce. Yeah, you'll be smiling down to your toes.

APPLE CAKE













Cake:
1 cup Oil
2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (use the real stuff - not imitation)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups apples, chopped (gala or granny smith)

Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash allspice

Vanilla Sauce:
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoon vanilla (the REAL stuff)

For cake, beat oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Stir together dry ingredients and add to oil mixture. Blend. (it will be very stiff - almost like cookie dough). Stir in apples. Press into a lightly oiled 13"x9" pan.

For topping, combine all ingredients and sprinkle over cake. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes.

For vanilla sauce, blend sugar and flour together in a saucepan. Whisk in whipping cream. Add butter and cook over medium heat, whisking often until thickened. Add vanilla and stir. Serve cake warm with vanilla sauce.

No Fair Wear: Still Time To Vote For Your Favorite Saying

Yes, it's true. The polls haven't closed yet and there is still time to vote for your favorite No Fair Wear saying. I'm sure Sherri will be clicking like a mad woman tonight to stack the vote in her favor. I'm allowing you to vote as often as you'd like, so start clicking and give Sherri a run for her money. (By the way, the poll is located on my sidebar. Shouldn't be too hard to find.)



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cleaning House for Christmas

I've been in my pre-Christmas funk the past few weeks and had some pretty serious conversations with the only one patient enough to listen to my ramblings and rants. That would be God. He knows that Christmas is hard for me because I feel guilty that my children have to spend their Christmas apart because of divorce and broken relationships. He knows that I wish we could be one big happy step family with everyone accepting each other, but we're not. He knows that I want my children to have fond memories of holidays spent together but there is too much animosity and unease between certain members in our house. He knows I wish my kid's dad and I could get along for their sake, but we don't. He knows..it all and I want him to fix these things.

As I pondered all this stuff, I realized that I really want a lot from God for Christmas. But what am I giving Him? He doesn't ask for much, just my love, trust and faith that He knows what he's doing and to let go and give Him control over it all. Have I done my part to make sure I'm giving everything I have to God no matter what my circumstances may be? Am I only focusing on what I don't have(yes) instead of what I do have(no)?

I think every now and then I have to stop and take an inventory of what's on my heart and put it all back into perspective. As I came to this realization, this song came on the radio. I love God's irony and how he likes to use unconventional ways of speaking to me.



Sure, my life isn't perfect and our family is a little more water and oil than peanut butter and jelly. But here's what I know for sure:

-God loves EVERYONE in this blended family of ours.
-My children know without a doubt that I love them unconditionally.
-Jon has been like a father to my daughter and loved her when she needed it most.
-God has always provided for and taken care of us.
-I have family and friends that are very precious and dear to me.
-Jon and I love each other and are committed to our marriage.
-God's plan is big and mysterious and I'm not always 'in the know', but that's how God works and He knows what He's doing.

Yep, it's time for a good house cleaning...just in time for Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas From Me And The Hee Haw Gang


It is beginning to look a heckuva lot like Christmas here (as seen from my office window today) and as we are all endlessly scraping our cars, slipping and sliding on the ice covered roads and revelling in our sub-zero temperatures, I hope you are staying warm and enjoying the reason for the season.

Because Christmas is a time of spreading cheer, I wanted to share a little ditty that I created with you in mind and hope that you enjoy it as much as I have. (Sherri and Helen, this is especially for you.) So turn up the volume and here's to it putting a smile to your face and a sparkle in your eyes.

Merry Christmas from the whole Hee-Haw gang!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Weather Outside IS Frightful

The great town of Bend is experiencing a deep freeze and with the wind chill factor we're enjoying a balmy -8 temperature. Seriously. Go outside for more than 14 seconds and your nostrils freeze. It's that cold. Up to 8 inches more snow is expected and the kids are praying for another snow day tomorrow. The parents are not. My one thought today as I looked outside at the swirling snow was, 'why didn't I book a flight to Mexico for Christmas?' I can't decide what I prefer more. This....



Or this....



I do know that the kids can get creative in the snow and why pay outrageous fees at the local ski resort when you can have a snowboard ramp in your very own backyard. The boys built this last night. Jon started talking about the roof and trailers and jumping... I saw a trip to the ER so the boys had to settle for 'off the deck'. This is Jaketacular catching air off the jump. Sweet.



For those of you who would like to cast your vote for the No Fair Wear t-shirt saying, I've posted the poll on the sidebar. Have at it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like CHRISTmas and Other Stuff

I woke up to the first big snow of the season today. It's been bone dry and the mountains have had absolutely no snow. So this is a good thing...but...I have several very important people who are traveling the mountain pass today and when I looked at the 'RoadCam' it's a complete whiteout. If you wouldn't mind saying a quick prayer for my daughter who will be on a bus full of coaches, wrestlers and stat girls heading home from the coast, Jon, who was over visiting him mom and my brother and his family (wife and 12 kids) who are headed home from California and will be traversing the Siskiyous. (Thanks!)

On Fridays, after work, it's a mad dash home for me because I love the weekend. My mind starts racing from the moment I walk out the door until I pull up into the driveway. Ah, home sweet home. Because it's your lucky day, I thought I'd give you a glimpse as to my thoughts on the 8 minute ride home and how I do 'katdish' in my head.

Whoa, that person has a Bend High sticker on their car. Sweet glory days. Whoa, (two cars down) that person has a Bend High sticker and an Obama sticker. Not cool. Don't they know only Republicans go to Bend High? I wonder who drives it.

How exactly do you pronounce the governor(is a lower case 'g' like giving the middle finger? Should it be uppercase?) of Illinois' name? Blogosjevetsky..Blagoblabojovich, Blewitbigtimeuhvich...

What would Ted Nugent do about the dogs next door that keep coming in our yard and chasing after us? Kill em' and grill em'? Hey, that would be a cool show for someone that is a hunter/chef. And why did I wonder what TED NUGENT would do? Weird.

I think the only carrots I have in the fridge are the ones I bought at Costco that taste horrible. Even with ranch. So I can't put them in the stew. Maybe I should just do goulash again. At least I'm home alone tonight so I don't have to cook.

That was totally ridiculous when Tom Cruise sang Blue Suede Shoes on Jay Leno. What is wrong with that guy? Is he doing the 60's in his head?

Why does the wife of ex read my blog every day? That's like creepy stalker stuff. If she doesn't want anything to do with me why does she care about what I write? Why did I even think about that?

What the heck does Helen the Hungarian look like? She's going to show up to our party in a veil because she wants to mess with us. Dang. Maybe she'll do her 'mouth up to forehead' look for us.

Is Steph from RCD in Deliverance, GA? I should pray for her family if they ever go rafting.

Is every lame driver on the road when I get off work? And why is this guy going 25 in a 35? He should be going 40 because I have to get home so I can leave again and pick my parents up at the airport. 5:25pm. Can I pass on the right?

Why don't I call her Kathy? Katdish sounds cooler anyway. She's brave to take a picture wearing THAT. I'm too vain.

I should do a post about dam stuff.

That lady (next to me at the stoplight) looks sad. I wonder what her story is.

I think Jon was bummed I didn't go with him today. I'm selfish. I need to go visit his mom more. I should have called him before I left for the office lunch party so he could put the studs** on the Tahoe.

Darn, Killian already left with Grandma Wilson. I won't get to see him. I need to give the kids some money to take their Grandma and Grandpa Wilson out for a Christmas dinner.

Wow, Boz is happy to see me.

There you have it. Katdishing in my head about all that is useless and trivial.

And a note about studs**. For those of you who have no idea what those are, it is not a bunch of people driving around with hunkorama on their cars. They are tires with sharp little metaly things that stick out to help the car go better on the snowy roads. Most people put them on November 1st whether there is snow or not so that they can help create jobs for road construction crews by ruining the roads. Jon puts them on only when he drives the mountain pass. Just doing our part to save tax payer dollars.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Fair Wear Is Here

It's here! It's finally here and it's big and it's huge! After 20 years of being an 'idea', we have the logo and are officially launching No Fair Wear! And we're inviting you to be a part of it!

What is No Fair Wear? Ever heard the whine of a sweet, precious child as they wail 'Nooooo faaaiiiir'?(Bummer...What are you going to do?) Well, No Fair Wear is everything in life that isn't fair. Yep, that's right. Life isn't fair and we're telling you all about it.

So, how can you be a part of No Fair Wear and what's in it for you? Well we are looking for some sassy, sarcastic and humorous (KEEP IT CLEAN!) sayings to put on adult and kid t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats and much, much more. If your sassy, sarcastic and humorous submission is selected you will receive an incredibly awesome t-shirt with your saying and some really cool No Fair Wear stickers to give to all of your friends. How brilliant is that?

So get those creative juices flowing and give us your best shot!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Impatience Is Not A Virtue

If impatience were a virtue I'd have that one nailed down. It has never been in my nature to be overly patient and I think part of it is my Type A personality (if you know anything about Type A, the first characteristic of said person is time urgency and impatience. Go figure). Patience is definitely something I want to have more of and I realize that in order to perfect that virtue I need to practice it. Not just for a day, but possibly days, weeks, months... You get the picture.

My friend Bo recently wrote a post on waiting. Waiting takes patience and we've already established that I am in-lack-of. I want to wait in eager anticipation of where God is taking me and wait in complete humility and silence as I listen for God's voice directing me. But I don't like waiting. Period. And instead of waiting patiently and listening for His voice, I usually end up having a conversation with God that goes something like this:

Anne: God, I've been waiting patiently and I think I've got it all figured out so how about you go ahead and share 'the plan' with me so I can get started on this thing.

God: Silence.

Anne: Uh, God, I'm still here waiting and I know you hear me, which is really cool because you're not like me who can just pretend I didn't hear you(when my will doesn't want to do something you're telling me to do, but maybe we can deal with that one later), so maybe now you can share that really cool plan you have for me, with me. I mean the clock is ticking and with the way stuff is going in the world I'm feeling a little sense of urgency. I'm sure you are too. Right?

God: Anne, you've been waiting 6 minutes.

Anne: Wow, has it been that long?

It's easy to want to jump the gun and get ahead of myself instead of just revelling in what God is doing with me. I start to feel pretty good about something and then 'wham' I take a 'devils in the house' hit and I realize I'm not as well off as I thought. I know it's because I haven't waited long enough for God to 'sift' me because I'm human and that causes discomfort and I can be very insecure about whether I'm really valuable enough for God to love me the way He says He does. And, I'm just flat out impatient and usually run before I walk. I think my comment on another one of Bo's posts about how faith is like the leaves in the fall and whether one is a clinger (not wanting to let go when God wants you to) or a jumper (you are willing to let go) sums me up pretty well. "I am a jumper by nature, but sometimes I get impatient and don’t always ‘wait for my color to change’ and I’m the one green leaf laying on the ground." (Oh, it can be a lonely world out there.)

Having the patience to wait until God says go takes a lot of faith. Having faith while being an extremely Type A control freak takes a lot of work. The good news is progress is being made because I'm figuring it out. Slowly but surly I'm recognizing the places in my heart that need the most work and I think that feeling God's conviction about things is a big step in moving closer to his will for me. I know that I need to cling a little tighter to God and let go of the things that give me a false sense of urgency. I know God loves me and whatever insecurities I have are not from Him but the one who wants to destroy the relationship I have with God. I know that I put a lot of pressure on myself and feel a tremendous sense of judgement towards myself whether it's real or not. It comes with the high expectations I put on ME and not ever living up to those expectations and feeling failure for it.

I'm learning to accept my humanness and to not beat myself up when I fall but It's not an overnight change. I don't know that those around me totally understand it and at times feel like that one little leaf that jumped too soon. I also think sometimes, that is where God wants me. If I don't have the distraction of all the others around me it's easier to hear the one voice that truly matters.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Call

So last night I got THE call. The one every parent with a driving teenager dreads. It goes something like this... (in a very shaky, scared voice) "Mom, I've been in an accident." In the few nano seconds it takes to register what I've just heard and before I can ask, "Are you OK?" that feeling of your stomach falling down to your feet hits like a dump truck full of pig slop. To be honest, it's kind of a blur from the time I fired off in rapid succession "Did you call 911? Where are you? Did you call Jon? Are you ok(again)? I'll be right there." to pulling up at the accident scene.

By the time I pulled up, Jon was there with my daughter as well as a police officer and by the grace of God no one was hurt. For which I am very thankful. I told Jon today that it was so hard to talk to the officer because it was cold and I was scared, nervous and shaking like crazy. I vividly remember trying to talk to the paramedics in a very slow, deliberate voice because I couldn't stop shaking. Weird.

I think we learn a lot about ourselves in situations like these and as parents we can go into the 'what if' mode when our children are faced with scary circumstances. Jon was faced with something similar a few years ago and while I could empathize with him I couldn't completely understand how he felt about his kids being in a car wreck...until last night. I have played the 'what ifs' in my head and it has done nothing but bum me out. I can still feel my daughter shaking as I wrapped my arms around her at the scene. I have run the gamut of emotions and am shocked at the uncontrollable crying. I think it's just my way of letting go of the stress of the situation and the feeling of overwhelming gratitude I feel towards God for protecting not only my child but the driver of the other car. Last night was proof that the prayers of protection I pray over my children are being heard by an extremely loving and protective God who holds us in his hands.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Its Just That Good


Because I am feeling extremely domestic diva this week, I thought I would continue with the food theme and give you yet another new recipe to add to your repertoire. This is by far one of the easiest 'Mexican' dishes you can make and will put you in the throws of green chile utopia. Seriously. I whip this up and then let little Mrs. Crockpot do her magic while I'm at work. I have simplified this recipe especially for those of you who don't have a lot of time to slave over a hot stove.

GREEN CHILE PORK

2 lbs. boneless pork roast cut into cubes
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt (heaping)
1 teaspoon cumin (heaping)
1 teaspoon chile powder (heaping)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large can (28 oz or so) green enchilada sauce

Put cut up pork in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour, salt, cumin, chile powder and pepper and stir to coat. In a large skillet heat olive oil. Add garlic and stir for about 30 second. Add pork. Cook in skillet until pork is browned, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a crockpot. Add green enchilada sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Before serving, to thicken the sauce, put about 1/2 cup of sauce in a bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour. Stir back into crockpot and let thicken for a few minutes. Serve in a bowl topped with cheese (medium cheddar or pepper jack), sour cream and tortillas on the side.

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Since I am always looking for new recipes, please feel free to share a recipe of your own and let's keep them simple (nothing with 82 ingredients that I have to purchase online because they are specialty items, like water snake or mad black wiener dogs). So here's your chance to show your domestic divaness and pick up a few new recipes to boot.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Is Just So Us

So Jon and I had a Saturday all to ourselves which is a rare occurrence. By late afternoon we decided to head out and pick up a few movies to watch while we ate dinner. As I have mentioned in the past, Jon and I have this uncanny ability to have deep, meaningful conversations at the drop of a hat no matter where we are. We've literally solved much of the worlds problems this way. Like our conversation as we were driving home last night.

Jon: That guy really needs to turn on his headlights.

Anne: Yeah, I flashed a UPS driver last night when I was taking Killian to meet up with his dad.

Jon: You flashed a UPS guy?

Anne: Yeah. With my headlights.

Jon: Your headlights. Niiice. So it's OK if I just start flashing the FedEx lady when she shows up at my work?

Anne: His lights were off and it was dark.

Jon: You know that's what the Crips do for initiation. Drive around with their lights off until someone flashes them. They chase the person down and shoot them.

Anne: The UPS driver isn't in the Crips.

Jon: Hey, everyone wants to be a somebody.

Anne: (Sigh)

Jon: I got a call from Cris when he was working in the government and it was THE weekend that the Crips were doing their initiations. He said that if we saw people driving around without their headlights off not to flash them.

Anne: So there are Crips in po-dunk Albany, Oregon?

Jon: Well, not Albany but, you know, the big cities.

Anne: I'll keep that in mind.

So after we got home I proceeded to make Jon's most favorite meal in the world. Pasta Carbonara. If you've never had it, you need to. It's one of those dishes that I hope we get to eat in heaven and if it's not on the buffet table now, I'm hoping by the time I get there it is. It's just THAT good. And easy. Because it's your lucky day, I'm posting the recipe so that you can give it a shot yourself.

PASTA CARBONARA
4 large eggs
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I actually do about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (make this one at least 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I use about 4 cloves. Garlic is good!)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more is better)
4 oz thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped (I use regular bacon)
12 oz egg fettuccine (the fresh stuff is better than the dry)1 medium bunch

Whisk 4 eggs, both cheeses, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl; set aside. Cook pancetta(bacon) in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to small bowl. Reserve skillet with a small amount of the drippings.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return hot pasta to skillet you cooked the bacon in(off heat). Immediately add egg-cheese mixture, pancetta (bacon), and 1/4 cup hot cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten as needed. Season to taste with salt and more pepper, if desired. Cover to keep warm.

I chopped up some spinach and threw that in when I was tossing the pasta. I like to eat healthy and I figure the spinach cancels out the fat from the bacon and cheese, so it's basically a fat-free dish. (At least that's how I justify it in my mind). Jon and I ate the whole thing and had a lovely red wine to go with it(I know, I know, white with THAT kind of a pasta dish, but I'm a rebel and prefer red.)

Oh, and you can skip renting 'The Assassination of Jesse James'. While the pasta was amazingly fabulous, the movie was not.

Friday, December 5, 2008

TGIF And Friday FUN

It's TGIF at Buzz by Annie's (as well as everywhere else in Bloggerdom) and that is a very awesome thing. I don't normally do those crazy fill-in-the-blank and forward type emails, but since we are getting ready to kick off the weekend, I thought I would throw caution to the wind and do something extremely dangerous and fun. Yes, that's right, F-U-N!

You can play along by cutting and pasting the following into the comments section and see what wacky, crazy and downright ridiculous names you can come up with and possibly fall in love with. So, happy Friday and all that jazz.

1.YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, current car):
Sweetie Pie Tahoe (Sounds kind of like an exotic dancer or something)

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe):
Rocky Road Sarto (That is truly 'gangsta')

3. YOUR NATIVE AMERICAN NAME (favorite color, favorite animal):
Red Cat (Sounds more like an energy drink)

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city where you were born):
Katherine Bend (I'm glad I'm not an opera star...eessshhh)

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (the first three letters of your last name, first two of your first name):
Bir An (Sounds like something we say in Bend because it's so stinkin' cold in the winter)

6. SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color, favorite drink):
Silver Corona (Ok, I just may have to change my name!)

7. NASCAR NAME (the first names of your grandfathers):
John Milton

8. STRIPPER NAME (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy):
Rose Butter Cup (I am not going to make any sarcastic comments about tip$...)

9. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (your fifth grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter):
Dauble Dallas (I would never get the forecast right with a name like that..)

10. SPY NAME (your favorite season/holiday, flower):
Summer Smellslikebread (Hey, if I had a favorite flower, that's what it would smell like)

11. CARTOON NAME (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now):
Raspberry Robe (Can you say l-a-m-e?)

12. HIPPIE NAME (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree):
Hash Ash (Yeah..man...!)

(Hopefully my 'lurker' in Palo Alto will play along?!)

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Letter To A Special Mother In Law

Dear Loretta,

I want to begin by telling you what a wonderful and beautiful person I think you are. You have spent your life serving others because of the enormous amount of love and compassion you have in your heart. You have been so faithful in serving the Lord and you have touched many lives with your ability to put others ahead of yourself.

When you suffered a stroke in July it was horrible for your family to see you in the hospital bed, and then to have you in a nursing home so that you could be cared for was, and is even harder on them. I can't imagine how it feels for you to be independent one day and totally dependant on others for all your needs the next. If Jack, Jon or Jill could change it all and have you healthy and home they would do that in a heartbeat because they love you so much.

When we came to visit at Thanksgiving and it was just you, me(and Bozley)sitting in your room, we had a lovely conversation. Even though you can't communicate with words and I was the one doing all of the talking, you were listening to my every word and I could tell from the expression in your eyes, the gesturing with your hands and by the smile on your face that you were enjoying yourself at that moment. (Bozley was glad to see you too!) It was great seeing you laugh when Jon started singing in his 'Zion Mennonite' voice because you knew what he was poking fun at. There were several times I caught myself watching Jon when he was watching you and it was in those moments that I could see in his eyes just how much he loves you and cares for you.

I know that many times, if not daily, we have all wondered why God would allow such a beautiful, thoughtful, giving and loving person like yourself to endure the kind of stroke that you did. What is his purpose for taking away what you love doing most, which is serving those around you and making you completely dependant on others for all of your needs. While we can't always grasp or understand why God's plans are what they are, or why God has chosen for you to go through the things He has, I do know that He loves you more than anything and holds you in the palms of His hands every minute of the day. We don't have to understand His ways, we just have to trust that His plan is being played out according to His purpose.

I know this Christmas for you and your family will be very different from Christmases past. You have always enjoyed serving others by preparing the feast, wrapping the gifts and gathering your family around to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Instead of being the 'servant' to those around you this year, it is going to be our turn to serve, bless and love on you. I want you to know that in the few short years that I've known you, I have enjoyed being around you, the chats we've had and the laughs we've shared. I'm very thankful that I am married to your son and that he is a part of mine and my children's lives. I continue to pray daily for God's peace to be upon you and that you will feel His joy and love in each and every moment of the day.

Love,
Anne

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In The Not So Spirit of Christmas

So, for the past three days I've been writing and deleting, writing and deleting, writing and deleting because nothing is coming out right. It's not that I'm in a writers slump, believe me, I have a lot to say. It's just trying to say what I have to say without sounding scrooge, bah-humbug or overly sarcastic. This is, after all, the season of 'nice'. And I want to make sure I project nice in a most...well, nice way.

The thing is, it is a most true, unfortunate and sad fact that I'm just not really that into Christmas anymore(insert 'gasp' here). I know, I know, for shaaaaaaaame. It's not that I don't want to celebrate the birth of our Lord, who walked the earth preaching the gospel, performing miracles and then died for ME. I do, I really, really do. But my heart is just not that into it anymore.

I mentioned that last Christmas I didn't even have a tree. In fact I don't think I hung one decoration (unless you count the Christmas lights on the outside of the house, but they were still there from the year before. Jon is very proactive that way.). It was a big disappointment to my kids and I was disappointed in myself. This year though I have vowed to put up a Christmas tree that will put the Griswolds to shame and I even plugged in the outside lights(although I blew a fuse - but half of them still work) because I want my kids to be surrounded by some semblance of Christmas cheer.

This all sounds so crazy coming from someone who used to do up Christmas in a grand way with decorations, big dinners served up on my very best china and Christmas music playing in the background. Seriously, it was right out of a Thomas Kinkade postcard. But such is not the case anymore and I would rather skip the formalities, have a quiet day at home(or on a beach in Mexico) and move painlessly into the new year.

Excuse me while I go call my therapist...