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Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 Juicy Morsels You Didn't Know About My Husband

"Nice Uniform" I complemented Nurse Clear Evening. "Thanks!" She smiled, "My husband made it.". Wow! None of us could say our husband's made our scrubs. Finally I had to brag about mine too..... "I was so comfortable snuggled up under the electric heating blanket on the way here." I continued on, "as you know, my husband drove me." One of the girls agreed she had seen him drop me off. Another chimed in "My husband drove me tonight too". All eyes were on her "but he didn't have to". The next bragged her husband made her homemade soup. On and on we bragged. "Yeah, well I bet you didn't know my husband is a super hero crime fighter!" OK, well I didn't really say that, but in the spirit of bragging on our men, I decided to put up this post. Here are 10 Juicy Morsels You Didn't Know About My Husband!!
1. I met (and instantly fell for) my husband when I was 16! I was out "cruising with a friend". He saw me, and he followed me into a base ball game. The first time I saw him I thought "That is the most gorgeous guy I have ever seen!"
2. He worked full time changing tires to support me while I went to college for nursing.
3. We've been married for 18 years (and together for 20).
4. He is faithful and trustworthy.
5. Every morning he does math with our kids. He's the best dad any kid could ask for!
6. He taught me how to shoot a gun! He tried to teach me how to skin a beaver too, but I wasn't all that interested.
7. He's always encouraged me to follow my dreams - becoming a nurse, participating in a long distance swim, having more kids, I could go on and on.
8. He reads my blog.
9. In high school, he fought to defend my honor twice! This earned him the nickname among many teens of "Kevbo" after "Rambo".
10. He loves God with all his heart, entertains a strong sense of patriotism and moral code. He's also "a natural" at almost everything he tries - flying airplanes, operating heavy equipment, snowboarding, whatever!
Sorry, I couldn't resist but to brag him up just a little!! He really is a superhero!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jumping on the "Everybodies Doing It" BandWagon!

OK, so not "everybody" is doing it, but Foodie Girl and CMoursler are. Close Enough! I'm gonna "jump on" since just a few posts away I was "drowning in lard"!! Here are my 10 Challenges (some copied ideas from the girls) :
1. Some form of exercise 6 days a week.
2. Sit ups 5x a week. This is for sure the spookiest of all goals because I can never seem to find time to do that!
3. Instill some healthy idea in my kids daily! For instance "wouldn't you like a carrot stick honey?" Moms are so terrible!
4. OK, OK, a before and after pic (ugh)!
5. Drink more water. Minimum of 3 glasses, but hopefully more!! Mandatory Fruit and Veggies Daily!!
6. Burn calories rather than binge them under stress!! This may be harder than the sit up challenge!
7. Do something with my hair before the 10 weeks is up.
8. I'm signing up for the "Biggest Loser" challenge at work. Wow, the pressure is on!!!
9. Once a week workout with my workout Buddie.
10. Try on clothes when I'm out shopping and maybe even force myself to buy something once in a while.
*Oh and Ugh!! I put up a weight loss ticker. Again, I am copying these girls. It is just a little bit frustrating, because I should be at 10 more pounds of weight loss! Yes, I have to re lose 10 pounds :-( Wahh! Who wants to re lose?! Totally been there. Well, better than re losing 20 I guess. Anyway, my ticker reluctantly up. The New Year is upon me and the pressure is on!

Goodness Gracious More Blog Awards!!

Goodness Gracious! I was awarded these lovely Blog Awards from Baili and I She brings us into a new sense of culture while displaying incredible depth and insight. I count it so fortunate to have stumbled across her blog because I am always enriched reading what she has to share :-)
I am bequeathing these blog awards to the following people :
1. "Your Blog Makes Me Smile" award to Colleen at Tales of a Busy Mama of 5 Because her fun family photos make me smile!!
2. "2009 Writing Award" I award to Skygirl at Life and Stuff because I love her journal. She is insightful and true. I've known her since she was a little tyke. Yes, a bit of trivia here, she once bit my oldest son, now 18. Really, now, she is a lovely, virtuous young woman almost finished with Culinary Arts School!!
3. I award Mama Bear at Gypsy-Bears Family Tree House the double heart award because her blog is full of heart and soul!! She loves her little ones and it shows. Right now she is moving, but we will all look forward to hearing about her new adventures!
4. I award Earwen at A Hot Heart the "Loyal Friend and Writer Award" because she is true to what she believes. She is dedicated to modesty and chaste living. She is a prudent voice to teens everywhere.
5. Last but not least, I award Friend of The Bear and Foodie Girl at For Me"Butterfly Blog Award" because they are beautiful, full of life and inspire me often!!
Thank you ladies for your encouragement, faithfulness and for sharing your gift of blog with the world!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Momentus Occasion of Going Some Place

Getting ready to go somewhere is no small task. Here's how it all starts out. "Get up" my husband tells me "we've gotta leave by such in such time". I roll over and wait for no less than 15 minutes to elapse. He comes to the door again. "Honey, you've gotta get up" he reminds me, this time with a little more urgency and less patience in his voice. He is probably thinking to himself "why can't this slug of a woman get up?!" Eventually I drag myself out of bed. This is no easy matter. Moonbeam may also be sabotaging these efforts by demanding to nurse. She is cute and warm and snugly while the room out there is cold and foreboding.
After dragging myself into the "foreboding" kitchen, I begin making a full breakfast of eggs and hash browns (for my husband and boys), coffee (for me) and whatever else every body wants to eat. I yell to the kids. Then I go back to their rooms and yell to them again turning on the lights, tripping over toys, etc., etc... I am thinking to myself "why can't these slugs of kids get up?!" Something is vaguely familiar here, but I do not have the time to ponder where I have heard this before.
As the children are eating and getting dressed, I try to gulp down my coffee. Super Catman always comes out wearing pants with holes in them. I always send him back to his room to change no less than 2 times. He always informs me that he has no clean pants without holes. I send another kid into his room to sort through piles of dirty laundry to find a semi-presentable pair. Then I rant and rave about dirty laundry stacked up in the children's rooms.
Then there is the sock bin. It is an over sized clear plastic tote. It is full, yes full of odd socks. No one, I repeat no one has any matched socks. This family owned sock bin is the source of much agony. It is always past time to go and I am always looking for a pair of socks in there for some one. Usually all the children are in the car waiting as I try to match myself a pair of socks. There is nothing like trying to match socks under this kind of pressure.
Then there is the drive way. Because none of our vehicles can make it up and down the drive now, we must transport all people, diaper bags, groceries, etc.. with a 4wd that has chains on it specially designated to only drive way use. Therefore, my husband must drive down the driveway to start the vehicle we are going to drive. Then he drives up the driveway. He says to everybody "come on, the Suburban is running". Some kids walk down the drive way. Others ride. The diaper bag, etc., must be transported into the waiting vehicles. The drive way can be very icy and getting up and down can be a very hairy experience. Usually I am ranting and raving about this. Sometimes I am praying loudly with hopes that he will alter whatever it is he is doing that is upsetting me.... say for instance driving backwards up or down the driveway.
The phone is also a source of difficulties. We can never find our cordless phone. Usually it is dead and lost some place, nobody knows for sure where. The other phone has some kind of connection problem. First the cord started slipping out from the phone. That was remedied by holding the cord into the phone while conversing. Later, after Moonbeam had "fixed it" better, it quit working all together. Its only function is to ring. If you pick it up, it immediately disconnects. We have a third phone, but you can't dial out on it, you can only talk. I'm not kidding. The other day, we were trying to see if the neighbor girl was going to come along to church with us. Since the first phone was lost, the second broken and the third without the capacity to dial out, we had to stop by to see if she was coming! Even my mom started calling 3x when we don't answer. She learned that someone has to go to the basement to get the phone that doesn't dial out to answer!
Then there is the cat, "Puma Kitty". Puma Kitty is no longer allowed in the house unsupervised due to the urinating on my carrots and beets ordeal. Just see "The Cat Peed on My Carrots (A Good Excuse to Eat Chocolate)" post. At any rate, Puma Kitty likes to be inside, and lurks outside the door, awaiting it to open. Once it opens, Puma Kitty, like a streak, dodges into the basement and immediately hides somewhere hoping to not be found. This creates quite a dilemma when we are trying to go some place on time. My husband has taken up the home defense mode with none other than an air compressor. It is harmless. It just makes noise and blows air at the cat. Just as we are about to go out the door he says to me "hold up". I wait. He stealthily opens the door just a crack. As the cat comes near, he points the air compressor and blows it at the cat. The cat takes off running. Then he tells me it is safe to exit. By this time I remember that I have forgotten something and I must return upstairs to do this whole thing all over again.
Of course Moonbeam often does her "big job" in the morning. She might be dressed and ready one moment. The next, well, lets just say the kids bring her to me. "Mom, we think Moonbeam needs you"!
Most often, by now, I have a sick feeling in my stomach. My husband is most likely frustrated with me because we are late for where ever we are going. Did I mention that the cat also tries to sneak into the car? What is that odor? Oh dear, I fear I have forgotten to wear nursing pads. I remember some other thing I was supposed to have brought along. On and on these scenarios go. Where they stop, nobody knows. So next time you go some place, think of me and be glad for your simple task of walking out the door and getting into the car. You do not have to hold an air compressor as a line of home defense. Nor do you have to juggle 5 kids out the door as you sort socks. Your telephone probably works and you probably have cell phone reception (which I do not). I suppose you are on time, but then again, maybe you have your own issues..........

Friday, December 25, 2009

Working Mom Blues and The Case of the Christmas Cheer

Holidays, especially Christmas, bring out the best and worse in all of us. On one hand people everywhere are buying gifts for little children, making time for family activities and showing goodwill. On the other, financial pressures boil over, suicides happen, over doses and alcholism rage while dysfunctional family dynamics surface. It's a season of Goodwill for all and a season of many aching hearts. A mother grieves for the son who took his own life. Children are passed back and forth between divorced parents, who all to often use them as pawns. Elderly, forgotten souls pine for the day their children will make time to see them once again. Working in an Emergency Room this time of the year, one almost needs therapy to survive the onslaught of emotions. This is where outdoor.mom's stories are never allowed to be told.
Just a few short days ago, I had planned to enjoy several days off over the Christmas break. Before I knew it, I was no longer contemplating gingerbread men, but had once again turned hospital supervisor on the Eve of Christmas. In between patients, our good doctor tracked Santa's whereabouts on a military Internet website. The ward clerk brought in hors d'oeuvres. A CNA wrapped presents for her kids. I found myself unprepared, not having planned for this row of shifts.
Untold hours ago, I hurriedly assigned Sock Fashion Expert the task of planning a holiday dinner in the event Uncle Cheddar showed up. I had tried to nap, but was thwarted many times. Alien Robots carried on a loud dialect in my living room before going outdoors to play. "Be quiet boys! Mom is trying to sleep!" Sock Fashion Expert yelled. No sooner had they gone out the door, but she began clanging dishes and playing music. Much later, Super Catman asked me for a banana before playing outdoors. He informed me that he and Artdog were pretending to battle Killer Gorillas. I feared picking up the Christmas Eve shift would upset the children, but they didn't seem to mind. They all pull together in such circumstances. What with Killer Gorillas and Robot Aliens in the backyard, my boys have more pressing issues to confront.

This afternoon, My husband and Moonbeam fell asleep on the basement swing near the wood stove. I got out for a quick hike. "What do you want me to do?" I asked, as I hiked over the crunchy frozen terrain. That still small voice assigned me one simple task, one I wasn't sure I could always muster. Upon returning home, I assigned the children their chores and gave Sock Fashion Expert some tips on planning tomorrows dinner. My husband drove me in to town. We made a quick stop at the grocery store. I put a silly sparkly Santa hat on Moonbeam, and it made the shoppers smile. I sported a furry Christmas bear sweater. Then I began my shift, as busy as could be. To each patient I greeted whether in smiles, tears or hugs. To each family member I came in contact with, I endeavored to impart that one small tug. To each co-worker I saw, to every child and adult, to each living soul I encountered, the assignment was the same. "What was that lone commission?" you may be wondering. It was to spread some Christmas cheer, because, after all, He came.
Merry Christmas!!
Here's to all you multitasking moms out there trying to keep it all together ;-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Gluttony - Drowning In Lard

Just a few short days before Christmas we did our "last min present shopping trip" to the big city. That morning when I woke up, I didn't feel like putting on my jeans. There is a good reason for that. They're a wee bit snug these days. The holiday goodies had taken their toll on my hips. The scale confirmed my worst suspicions! I had gained 10 lbs since the summer. I took out an old pair of pink yoga pants (with a small hole) and put them on. Then I found the only thing that matched was a stained up pink t-shirt. I looked in the mirror. It was comfortable I reasoned. "You're wearing that?!" my husband asked surprised. Really, he didn't mind. He was just surprised. He announced we'd be driving Roweena (the car with an odd colored door, multiple serious cosmetic flaws, no radio or player of any kind, the back doesn't open up, etc, etc.. We joked about how we would look pulling up at the dollar store. I began to feel guilty. So I was comfortable, but at what price? My daughter was excited about shopping. She was dressed up cute. I didn't want her embarrassed. Eventually I returned to my room without anybody saying anything and put on more appropriate attire promising myself that after the 25th I would start exercising more and eating better.
Since we were on a limited budget, we decided to eat at Arbys. Mmm.... I loved the roast beef and cheese. Then I immediately felt the fat gravitating toward my hips. I unzipped my jeans. My husband noticed. "Unzipping your jeans, eh?". I ignored him, disgusted with myself. He dropped us off at a store. The first thing I saw was a lady with a rather wide caboose. I forced myself to focus on that wide caboose telling myself "see, too many Arbys roast beef and cheeses and you will look like that!" It didn't seem to do much good. Not long after that Costco samples were everywhere. Hot Cocoa here, aged cheddar there. Quiche, poppers, butter pastries and dark chocolate all scandiously flaunted themselves as samples in front of me! I popped sample after sample. Then I wanted to go back and get more samples. My husband reminded me of a sermon we had just listened to about mooches. This was quite disheartening, especially since he had already shared his dark chocolate sample with me. I guess you could say, I've fallen off the wagon again!!
I did get out for a nice long walk today which I was happy about. I knew that it wasn't going to be pretty when I got to work. Truffles, fine chocolates, fancy cookies and lovely arrays of high fat rich sugary evils call my name from the nurses report room. I packed a nice salad, but of course, who feels like eating a salad when so many goodies are there in plain sight? This is not at all cheery thinking. I must end this post on a happier note.
I am looking forward to skiing, hiking and snowshoeing this month. I'm planning to force myself outdoors whatever the weather every day. I'm also going to catch up on our dance classes that my daughter and I are behind in. Good - no - Great things are ahead. Gosh, come to think of it, I'm also weighing in for a weight loss competition at work. Hooray, won't be long till those pounds are melting off!! (Do I have anybody out there convinced yet?) Hmm.... maybe I'll even put one of those turtle weight loss things on my blog. Momentum, mojo, uhhhh.... anybody got any advice for avoiding those evils in the report room? Anybody out there?!?! Do you hear the "Jaws" theme music? If not, try. Then throw out a life line!! I'm drowning in Lard!! I think I'm going down for the third time................................................................. big butts are laughing fiendishly while love handles wage a full scale assault..................................S.O.S.
Above photo : Sock Fashion Expert jokingly strikes a pose while trying on a hat she thinks is ugly. I hear my mothers voice speaking as I warn her to watch out for lice. Moonbeam is not impressed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Remembering AllieAnna

"A junctional escape rhythm is a relatively slow narrow-complex rhythm. The rhythm originates in the AV node, which has the intrinsic ability to initiate depolarization of the myocardium (automaticity)." As you may imagine, studying for continuing medical education can be a little dry. Of course, it is imperative that I force myself to pay attention to the material, but my mind does, well, have a tendency to wander. This time, it wandered back to my friend AllieAnna. AllieAnna was a young married mother who needed lots of encouragement. She was the kind of person who "nice people" avoided. AllieAnna lived with her husband in a one room shack with no electricity or running water. She had been in an abusive home growing up and didn't have much self-esteem. Since she hadn't experienced a lot of nurturing, she didn't know how to nurture herself.
A car seat wasn't even an option for her kids. They were just lucky to get to ride in the cab of their grandparents truck, where they hid on the floor. The rest of the family rode in the back all year long. AllieAnna's kids came to church half the time without jackets and her babies always had bare feet. It didn't matter how many times I or anybody else gave her socks or jackets for them, she just couldn't seem to keep them dressed right. Sometimes, I'd invite her over, dress her kids in my kids outgrown clothes. We'd wash their grubby little faces, help her give them baths and try to show by example how to be a better mom. It seemed like she was doing better, though she was always judged by the people around town and even some in church. Usually they made nasty comments to her which really didn't help the situation at all.
When AllieAnna's kids got sick with vomiting and diarrhea, she relayed the story to me later on that the nurse told her to just give them pedialyte and nothing else. AllieAnna didn't have the sense to feed them anything else again until she brought them back to the hospital very weak almost a week later.
After we'd moved from the area, we had them come and visit for a few days. I had just bought a week or two's worth of groceries. Every day I would make 3 meals and treats. Every night, AllieAnna would raid the refrigerator. I'd plan a meal for the next day and in the morning, the ingredients would be consumed. After a couple of days, AllieAnna was sick from gorging and was miserable with vomiting and diarrhea. She also had consumed numerous cans of soda. At meal times, she put huge piles of food at her children's places, more than they could possibly eat. Then she'd yell and slap them for not eating much. Then she'd eat their left overs. She did bizarre things like that, and it was hard to know how to intervene. Another time she gave one of her kids a cold shower when she was mad. Even when I told her to take her shoes off inside, I would have to tell her each time she came in and went out. I was pretty exhausted by the time they left and I had to go get groceries again. That next week, AllieAnna brought me two twelve packs of soda. She used her food stamps to buy them. She'd felt convicted and wanted to make things better.
Though AllieAnna did do bizarre and even somewhat abusive things to her kids, I always felt like there was hope. I never quit trying. The church in that city was undergoing a lot of transition during that time. Unfortunately, there were some strange words being spoken about people. After a while, it wasn't healthy to keep taking our kids there. Despite that change, we kept contact with AllieAnna. We were the ones she called when she started having thoughts about hurting her kids. We spent a lot of time counseling her and praying for her. Social Services also investigated.
Despite what you may be thinking, AllieAnna really does love her children. She asked for prayer many many times. She listened when I gave her advice. She tried to change, though it seemed painfully slow. Despite my frustrations, AllieAnna did make positive changes many times when I and others encouraged her.
Over a period of time, we lost contact with AllieAnna. Things didn't get better for her. They got worse. Her husband eventually succumbed in his fight against drugs and alcohol. There was perversion in thier marriage and they divorced. She moved out of state. I heard a lot more sad reports, but I don't want to publish them. I think I've said enough.
I'm not even sure if I'll keep this post up. I don't like saying anything negative about anybody. For sure, I don't like gossip. I do, however, believe in the power of people to change things. We are Jesus hands and feet here on earth. That song "Hands and Feet" by Audio Adrenaline continues to convict me. I wish I'd done more for AllieAnna while I had the chance. To be honest, it was hard. Her behavior was often times inappropriate. Her children were busy. Odors and messes were involved. Things people don't want to deal with.
Most people would like to point to social services. They're an easy finger to point at. What about you and me? What about our ability to change the world? Can a remedial "parenting class" really compare to what we can do? AllieAnna's temporary outcome didn't turn out like I'd hoped, but there are so many others out there. I just feel like there is somebody reading this who can make a difference in some one elses life. There are neglected kids all over. Maybe they're not in one room cabins playing in chicken dung, but they are there none the less. Kids whose parents are gone at work day in and day out, kids who are falling through the cracks of society. These are the children who will be adults when we are old. These are the children who may later help you cross the street, or mug you in a dark alley. These kids need intervention, and the state isn't the answer. It's you. Tonight, say a prayer for AllieAnna and her children. Then ask God how you can make a difference.
Luke 18:15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Above photos include : On the way home from shopping in the big city. Biggest and Littlest brothers playing "memory matching game" while Sock Fashion Expert studiously does her Algebra. Moonbeam under the tree. Our Family Checkers Championship.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Misadventures in Fitness

As Moonbeams sled picked up momentum on the slushy downward incline, I questioned my choice of forest trail. Suddenly it's force hit the back of my legs and I found myself defying gravity for fractions of seconds. The next thing I knew, I was sliding downward on my bottom, still grasping the rope to the sled. As we slid, I grabbed the side of the sled and we continued our speedy descent together side by side. Moonbeam was not sure what to think of this turn of events, however she cocked a furrowed brow and grimaced. I was relieved she had not yet mastered English, or she may have given me a tongue lashing for my inept skill at taking her for a simple hike.
Just yesterday, I had skied beyond this trail on an old, no longer used, kelly humped, logging road. That day wasn't exactly what I had planned either. I had had this vision of me, as a true outdoors woman, skiing and enjoying the fresh air. In these fantasies, I am buff, don't tire easily and entertain a commanding presence among the forest creatures. Yesterday, however, I was a little unsettled. I hadn't gone far when I discovered a host of fresh wolf tracks. This alarmed me to no end and I began remembering stories of a Canadian chap who was stalked, surrounded and eaten by the ravenous creatures. I looked over my shoulder and continued on. Sets of the mammoth tracks seemed to follow the abandoned road and furry scat littered the trail every so often. Gosh, I don't relish the idea of being wolf scat. Some of my friends have this warped idea that some such drivel would "be an honor". Not me, nothing honorable about aspiring to be feces in my mind.
Part of me has this wanderlust spirit that wants to drive on deep into the forest. The other part is always looking over her shoulder. She's a real fraidy cat. These two battle on together until I remind her (the fraidy cat) that sitting on the couch is a sure way to slowly kill oneself. Taking a chance and getting some exercise is much more beneficial than allowing ground to Miss Belly Fat. Then I heard yipping and feared wolves could be signaling others of my whereabouts. Reason reminded me that the yipping had come from the direction of civilization and that it was probably the neighbors dog. The yipping answered back and Miss Fraidy Cat demanded I turn around. By the time I got back to my cut off, Wanderlust woman demanded we explore another direction. My bulky heavy boots dangled back and forth over my shoulder as I skied and I was sure I looked utterly ridiculous skiing with them. One never knows when one must abandon her skis and take to the hilly treed terrain. In the end I did abandon my skis, or rather I carried them, scaling the side of a steep incline to get to the road. That took several attempts and I was quite relieved that when the neighbor drove by, he didn't seem to notice me scaling and sliding backward multiple times. All in all, my outdoor exercise attempts have left me with scattered bruises and so I have decided to spend the remainder of the day blogging and doing other "safe" pass times.
photos above: One fine day outdoors Moonbeam sat and smiled, Art Dog built a defense wall for snowball fights, the men worked on their barn/shop shelter and Super Catman built a force of "aliens" which he later decimated during hand to hand combat and with use of a "spear".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Lady in the Gingerbread House

The other day, as I began to embark through the snow covered trail, a thought crossed my mind. One that's crossed my mind several times...... it was the Lady in the Gingerbread house. This time the thought seemed a bit more like conviction. It said "this is the last time I'm going to tell you". I turned around and went back to the house. I gathered up some vegetables, a wreath and a Christmas letter. Then I began trudging through a snow covered drive deep into the forest, glad I had had the foresight to wear my tall, extra warm pack boots and heavy down coat. As I walked, I argued with myself. "They probably don't want company" The other voice said "shut up and walk". On and on my imagination argued with reason and conviction. If ever one could peer into my thoughts, they would find a freeway of traffic going on in there. I have to employ several extra law enforcers just to keep all the thought traffic driving in the right direction. On my imagination rebelled and on I kept trudging in the direction of the little gingerbread house.
As I approached, though no tire tracks could be seen in the fresh snow, cheery smoke rose from the chimney. I unzipped my heavy coat feeling a bit overheated from the exertion of hiking in the extra layers. As I trudged up to the door, it opened before I could knock and the two artists ushered me inside. I removed my layers of heavy clothing and side arm, and sat smiling at the Lady in the Gingerbread house. These two artists are amazing people. Husband and wife, they live deep in forest only going out to town once a month for supplies. Often they are snowed in and don't seem to mind. To get their mail, they hike a long way, crossing a frozen river! They know all manner of plant and mushroom life in the area and grow a beautiful garden in the summer. As I made my way into their home, they showed me beautiful paintings they had been working on. For the first time, ever, the lady in the Gingerbread house took me up the stairs into her art studio. Then she showed me a wool quilt she was working on in her bedroom. Observing all of the exquisite work inspired me to no end. Just the house they built speaks of their artistic ability.
We sat down to the table, and as her husband continued his work in the adjoining studio, we visited. She brewed some coffee and cut a slice of cake for me as we chatted. I had never spent so much time with her before, and found her quite intriguing. For over 30 years, this couple has lived deep in this forest. Despite my vast ignorance about art, native mushrooms and plant life, I enjoyed our conversation. When it was time to go home, I left feeling inspired and awed at the simple yet profound life that they have lived together.
Yesterday, when we got home from town, all our groceries had to be pulled by sled up our driveway. It's too slick to drive regular 4wd's on now. The truck we usually have chains on is in our garage being worked on. I had Moonbeam in a pack and pulled up an extra large heavy wet blanket I had washed at the laundromat. My husband was pulling up a huge sled full of groceries. Even Catman had a little sled with bags in it. It was dark and slippery. A couple of times we started sliding backward down the hill with our packs. Usually I automatically get mad and frustrated ranting and raving about this crazy set up of a place we live in. This time I just smiled. I remembered that it is a place with a crazy set up that's paid for. I don't have to go out and work every day to pay rent or a big mortgage. As we got to the steepest part, the older boys came rushing out the doors meeting us and helping take some of the loads. I smiled again as we all got to the door. The power of the whole family working together is amazing. My husband suggested the boys "do some Home EC and cook us dinner". I wasn't going to argue with that idea. After dinner, we played "Risk" and for the first time ever, I won. That was worth smiling about too.

Above Photos : A family hike to nearby frozen lake. Be sure to note our zany cat Puma Kitty!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Prestigious Blog Awards

Thank You Foodie Girl for "Superior Scribbler" blog award! This is the link with rules and regulations :

Thank You Prairie Chick for "Over the top" blog award!! Here are rules for that one :

Here are the questions Prairie Chicks came with :
Here are my answers to these questions: 1. Where is your cell phone? uhhh.....2. Your hair? brown 3. Your mother? fabulous!4. Your father? grrr-eat!!5. Your favorite food? chocolate6. Your dream last night? forgettable7. Your favorite drink? coffee 8. Your dream/goal? influence 9. What room are you in? living 10. Your hobby? literature 11. Your fear? apathy 12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? deeper 13. Where were you last night? worship 14. Something you aren’t? alone15. Muffins? mmmm..... 16. Wish list item? tropical17. Where did you grow up? N.MN18. Last thing you did? blogged19. What are you wearing? pj's20. Your TV? scifi21. Your pets? prowling 22. Your friends? faithful 23. Your life? overflowing24. Your mood? bliss 25. Missing someone? family 26. Vehicle? guzzler 27. Something you’re not wearing? frown28. Your favorite store? Costco29. Your favorite color? Teal30. When was the last time you laughed? Today 31. Last time you cried? dunno 32. Your best friend? God 33. One place that you go over and over? Wal mart 34. One person who emails you regularly? Dolphin 35. Favorite place to eat? Home

Ok, while my family are horrified by scifi snakes, I am taking this opportunity to award these prestigious awards to very deserving recipients!! Here they are!!

Superior Scribbler Recipients : Prairie Chick, who never ceases in her quest for God. She inspires me to no end!! Marcy at Blessings Each Day, who always has fun humor, interesting facts and a positive spirit. Kimberly at Homeschooling a Handful has been a source of inspiration with her incredible photographic ability and dedication to her home and children.

Over the Top Recipients : The Girls at Modest is Hottest, who are virtuous, wise and stylish! Becky at The Little Blue Cottage, who has a pure heart, hopes and dreams - she's overcoming so many challenges! Indescribable, for her dedication to children all over the world. Also Hannah at The Life and Adventure of the Averites . As a young woman, worked for a ministry until she recently married and now is serving with him on a new adventure! I love following her life because she's made so many wise decisions. It's an exciting adventure!! Last but not least, Heather at Bless Your Family, for all her support, crafty ideas and strong family spirit!

Thank you for inspiring me! Blogging becomes so much more enriching because of you!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"I Don't Want to Die, Man, I Just Wanna Get Some Water"!

As the fresh fallen snow envelops our little community, I can’t help but be reminded that it’s a little bit like how Love covers a multitude of sin. A few weeks ago, Elasta Woman got a notion - one she had been thinking about for some time. She decided that the community needed to once again become a community and worship together. This young, married woman in her mid 20’s - of depth beyond her years, rebelled against "the norm". Despite the fact that many people refuse to associate with one another, she and Mist organized the first ever "Community Praise and Worship". I’ll admit, I was just a little bit skeptical. There are so many people who hold grudges. I just didn't see how it was all going to work out. After I saw the younger women’s passion and determination, I was convicted into knowing it was a God plan and that I needed to get behind it and support them.
At our women’s group that week, there was a stir of enthusiasm. They brought a host of songs to discuss doing along with lots of other ideas. I had encouraged them to bathe the event in prayer and that’s exactly what we all did. We prayed for it at home. We prayed for it in groups. They met ahead of time and prayed. Lots and lots of prayer went into the occasion. When at last the day came, we loaded into our Suburban picking up a few extra passengers along the way and headed to the community center amidst the new fallen snow.
Lots of people had begun to arrive. We had all decided ahead of time that we were going to try and remain ignorant about who was going. This was because when people asked us, we wanted to say with all honesty "I don’t know". We were pleasantly surprised to see a nice variety of folks. As the music started, and I saw my friends up there singing, I couldn't help but feel like God was looking down upon the variety of people and had to be pleased. Some kind of goodwill overtook us all and the variety of musicians and singers gathered seemed to bring peace and healing to the valley. I’m pretty sure good ground was won and the strongholds of bitterness relinquished its grip. It was almost as if an angelic choir joined in along with us.
The next day in church, one of our favorite mountain men - we call him "When in Doubt Shoot it Out Guy", because he says that kidding around sometimes. Anyway, this lovable older veteran lives in a cabin with out running water. He recalled to us the tale that he had gone out to haul water and noticed fresh mammoth mountain lion tracks near his well. Because of this, he decided it was possibly time for indoor plumbing. "I don’t want to die, man, I just wanna get some water!" he relayed. The kids, of course, had to repeat this tale when we got home. I remembered our music the night before and it seemed to pertain just a little to the mountain man’s famous quote.
John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

Above Photos - Sock Fashion Expert Makes Cookies "with help", then we all play "The Worst Case Scenario Game"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Be Afraid - Very Afraid - Assault of Greens!!

God has a sense of humor - I just know it!! Just last Saturday, I enjoyed a spinach and feta salad when I was out with my friend "Dolphin Goddess". Actually, she picked out the salad. I was going to go for a burger. We decided to split our meals and it was love at first bite!! Oh my goodness! Spinach, Feta, cranberries, pecans and Feta call my name now! It was one of the best salads ever! God being God, decided to really bless me! Guess what came?! Cases of spinach along with cases of snap peas, lettuce, anise/fennel and celery! Here's the story.

First of all, I apologize for my delinquency of blog reading lately! I've been horrible - terrible!! Every moment of every day seems accounted for!! Soon, very soon, you will be hearing from me :-)
The other day, I received a surprise call about a shipment of greens! Before I knew it, I was hauling cases and crates up my stairway, wondering how on earth I would use it all before it spoiled. That night, I went to bed feeling blessed, yet befuddled! I woke up still at a loss - not wanting to waste anything. My men had already called a meeting in my kitchen strongly encouraging me. "We know you have the urge to hoard this" they said "but you need to sow". Quite possibly this sudden feeling of goodwill had to do with their dislike of spinach - LOL!!
I called my friend, "From MN", who is the most virtuous woman I know. She gave me all kinds of fiendish ideas to torment my family to health. The next thing she said brought peace and inspiration to my soul........ "Environmental Science Day". Its true - there is nothing wrong with taking a day away from school books and teaching children food preservation. It is a needed life skill. You can have the smartest, most learned children and if they are ignorant about life in general, you have failed in an important section of their life. With "From MN"'s advice, I got to work. I can't tell you everybody smiled and got happy about this task. The household, still wary of green, seemed leery, however by the end of the day, I had made a delicious meal my husband was quite pleased with, which contained lots of the dreaded substance...........vegetables!
Here are some diabolical things we did that day (all of which were "From MN"'s ideas)
1. finely chopped and dehydrated fresh Fennel / Anise
2. sorted, cleaned and dehydrated spinach
3. ditto - froze spinach
4. steamed celery (better than flash cooking because more nutrients are retained) - then we ran it through a food processor. Check out my new Goodwill buy! A Cuisinart Food Processor / Blender for $6!! Then we froze the puree in ice trays. Store the cubes in a Ziploc baggies and add to soups - stews - etc.. I am planning to do this later on with spinach as well. Finely milled spinach is not detectable in many foods such as brownies, spaghetti sauce, etc.. Yes women, think diabolical!! Assault your children - full scale attack - with greens!!
By the end of the day, everything seemed less chaotic and more manageable. I felt blessed because I had stored up good things for my family. I also got to share lots with friends, much to the relief and pleasure of my men.
Anybody have any good ideas for cooking with snap peas, fresh anise / fennel, spinach? I'd love to hear more suggestions!!

Homeschool Environmental Science Day

Story to follow on next post

Sunday, December 6, 2009

B-E-A-R !!!!!

Deep in the heart of the forest lies a sleeping bear nestled down into a shallow den in the snow. Quite possibly, he lies in a fitful sleep, wary of his run in with 3 certain boys yesterday...........

I had planned a shopping trip to a nearby city with my friend "Dolphin Goddess" for weeks. As the day approached, I set everything I thought I might need aside to make the trip go well - a portable umbrella stroller, diaper bag, water bottle, etc.. Before the sun ever crawled out of His resting place, I was up and making ready. Before I ever left the house, a strange feeling washed over me. I went and checked on each one of the kids and gave them a kiss on the cheek while they slept. Even as I drove away with Moonbeam in tow, I prayed a quick prayer of protection, such as I normally do. No sooner did I get to the bottom of the driveway, but I heard "meow". I was pretty sure Moonbeam had not yet learned that sound and I stopped to throw the cat back out into the new fallen snow. As I drove along the deserted stretch of road to my friend's house, animal tracks could be seen in a plentiful supply.
Soon we were on our way together having a grand old time! My friend, Dolphin Goddess, had made us breakfast burritos for the road. We sipped our coffee, ate our breakfast and drove leisurely to town. Some time, as we were driving along, my three boys were making their way out of their beds and formulating a plan for a grand adventure hike deep into the forest. As the boys were formulating their plans, a bear deep in the forest had just begun hibernation for the winter. He slept, undisturbed in a hollow, never suspecting someone would be blogging about him today.
Over the course of the day, Dolphin Goddess, Moonbeam and I had such fun shopping! We went all over the city. We tried on clothes at a second hand store, shopped till we about dropped at Wal mart and ate an incredible meal. When she stopped to run an errand at the post office, I phoned home to check on the kids. Sock Fashion Expert told me the three boys were out together "breaking trail".
Deep in the heart of the forest, three boys trudged onward in search of adventure. Maybe they were "breaking a trail". Maybe they were just getting in a nice hike. After a week of school and chores, the younger two were probably ready for some exercise, fresh air and freedom. As they continued on into the forest, one spotted a hole. He pointed it out to the others, and boys being boys, decided to check it out. As they approached the hole, they started saying things like "Cool! Check this out! That's the biggest badger hole I ever saw!" "Bear!" "No Badger!" "No bear!" No Badger!" As they bantered back and forth, the littlest of the boys, 7 year old Catman, meandered closer and closer to get a better look. As Super Catman peered into the hole, he saw a snout emerge. The older two boys heard a mournful howl or maybe a growl. Whatever the sound, they would make many attempts to parrot it now and most certainly will for many years to come. After the mournful howling growl, Super Catman, closest to the hole, attempted to back up along with his brothers. As the boys hastily backed up, Super Catman tripped and began sliding toward the hole. The Archer grabbed him and pulled him back. Out shot a little black bear not even an arms length away! The little bear, awakened from his sleep and traumatized, took off running like crazy leaving the boys shocked and with quite a story to tell!
As Dolphin Goddess and I were driving through Starbucks for a pumpkin spiced latte, getting ready to head home, my boys were galloping home with their tale of high adventure! Long after I have worn out the clothes I bought, long after my new holiday decorations lose their glitter, and presents have been opened and used up, my three boys will most likely be retelling the story of their day to their children and to their grand children.

Pictured above : Getting our Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tis the Season to Give

I've been having a lot of fun making and giving wreaths away! It feels so good to get out in the fresh air and pick different kinds of boughs and plants to put into the wreaths. Then I craft the wreaths and hang them up around the house outside. Each time I go somewhere, I take along a wreath (or two or three or maybe even four)! When I go for a walk, I bring along a wreath to share with a neighbor. When I drive to work, I throw in a few for co-workers and friends who have been good to me. It's a fun, inexpensive way of saying "thank you" that lasts a long time.
For the first time, I was asked to join a little party of women and help them make wreaths! I was just a little bit nervous! They are all crafters from way back! I'm not artistic at all! Well, it was a fun day and I met lots of neat ladies from all over our area. I had such a great time. I was awed at the wreaths the women made and the decor they arrayed them with! Oh they were gorgeous. I learned a lot more than I taught!
We tend to feel stressed out about this time of the year. We have a "status" of gifts we want to live up to. Truth be told, the best gifts in life are not bought with money. Probably one of the best gifts we can give somebody we love is time, understanding and extra grace. May peace reign in your hearts this holiday season :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Predatory Instinct

Not far from my house a small mountain lion hovers over it's new found food source. Somebody, (most likely not one of our locals), shot a buck and cut his head off leaving the body to rot. The body was left just at the end of our drive about a mile away. Its a place I hike almost daily. The young lion found it, and figuring it for some easy meals, drug it to another spot close by, partially burying it. Each day, my son checks the lions progress. Each day, the carcass is moved just a little and more of it has been eaten. Ravens have begun to eat what parts of the deer the lion didn't get buried well enough. It's slowly being consumed, but exists as a hazard and danger to us who live here. For now, the young lion lingers nearby. Every day, my son reminds me to be careful as I'm out hiking.

Just a year or two back, somebody shot another buck just behind our house a ways. They didn't even bother to take the antlers on that one, let alone the meat. A mother grizzly sow and 2 cubs fed on that one. Knowing they were back there was quite disturbing to me. Again, it was a potential danger to us who live here. Thoughtless, selfish acts of others unknowingly bring an element of danger to our small subdivision without them even realizing it. Predators smell the blood, they find the spoils and they become opportunists.

It occurred to me that spiritual predators act in much the same way. Some times we leave a bleeding mess some place in our life and inadvertently lure them in. Oh, we don't mean to be, but we're careless. We don't try to fix or clean it up. We just leave it there and it attracts the wrong kind of attention.
Anybody whose been reading my blog for a while, has found that Outdoor Mom always finds herself in some kind of crazy scenario! She enjoys high spirited adventures, but ends up fumbling her way along in it. She almost always something embarrassing! Its fun to laugh about, but usually at the time, it's mortifying! For instance, one time years ago, I found myself working in a small rural hospital many states away. On that particular night (probably the only one ever), I happened to be the person with the most experience. The other doctor and nurse I was working with were fresh out of school. Neither of them had ever done a particular procedure, and it was necessary to stabilize the patient. I really didn't have much experience myself in the procedure, but it didn't matter. I needed to be confident and do my best. During this intensive time, somebody pointed out that I was sporting a large piece of tape stuck to - yes, you guessed it, my derriere!! It was terrible! Here I was trying to be confident for everybody else, struggling to make my way through the procedure and a loud assistant had announced this fact and then proceeded to pull it off. It totally broke my concentration. My face turned red. I was just sure everybody was thinking "this lady is a total loser!" Thankfully, I managed to pull myself together and get the job done. Sometimes when others aren't confident about themselves, they try to deflect this by making somebody else look incompetent! Not to say that this person was doing that, but it happens. Anyway, when we project ourselves as not being confident, we attract that kind of attention. The first embarrassing moment that comes along, confirms that we are, indeed incompetent to do the job! Voices inside our head wag along with some on the outside! Soon we shrink back from opportunities that are God ordained. Having been the queen of many embarrassing scenarios, I know it's never easy to regain confidence in ones self during those times. Problem is, that's just the time the predator finds you and tries to devour. Its the time when you most need to reach into yourself and find truth resident. The truth is, it's really never about yourself. It's about others. If our focus is on them (and not ourselves), that truth will prevail.
Here's a good scripture to remind us all how to resist spiritual predators :-) It's a good truth to guard within us......................
Hebrews 10 :35 "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise"
Till next time, guard your hearts and keep watch for predators ;-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving started off with a bang! Nothing went like I'd planned, but that was OK anyway. I had thought I'd have a babysitter for putting in the turkey, but there were some miscommunications, and my friends didn't come as soon as I thought they would. I began to panic! Could I put on the turkey by myself?! Mist, my culinary arts friend, gave me some coaching over the telephone. Beads of sweat formed on my brow and I felt as if I were disassembling a ticking time bomb! I retreated to my prayer closet several times, ate some chocolate (since today I am taking a holiday from my sugar fast) and took several deep breaths. As I sat whining in my closet, a light bulb shined on my brain and I remembered that I was surrounded by family - something to be real thankful for. It occurred to me that my friends wanted to come - and spend the day with me. Having non relatives who want to be around me - well that's something to be real thankful for too! I realized that it didn't matter what time the turkey got done or how "gourmet" it would be. I would take my own advice and celebrate the people that make Thanksgiving special! A giddy calm came over me and the course of the day changed for good.
Mist and Fiery showed up with a luscious pumpkin cheesecake! She made best ever potato rolls. She made wonderful gravy. She did dishes. She tweaked with my roasting turkey and elk. She's always like a hurricane in the kitchen.
Elasta Woman and Matthew showed up with their 3 charming golden headed girls. She got right at making a special home made stuffing. She did lots of dishes. She always compliments everything Mist does. Earlier, my husband and kids congregated in the kitchen and we had such a fun conversation. Intermittently, Moonbeam came in "to help" making yet another mess! Quiet Sock Fashion Expert buzzed in and out making her signature pies and helping in too many ways to mention!
When the appointed time came, the 20 year Yaakian Mountain Man knocked on the door as if by cue. The turkey was cooked to perfection. It was the best I'd ever eaten! Mr. Mountain man settled down to the table surrounded by the rest of the men. There was much mirth as this true woodsman spun his tales from yesteryear. The dinner was more than I could have possibly expected. As I laughed and chatted Sock Fashion Expert gulped and looked at me. She whispered "Mom, you have huckleberry - cranberry dressing on your nose!" So I did. No happy ending would be complete without me doing something embarrassing! I also later got creamed playing scrabble - but hey - you can't win em' all ;-)