Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Rockies


How fortunate we are to live on a planet that has scenery like this.

(PS - I took this from a car window...I can't imagine what it would have looked lie if a real photographer had taken it with a real camera and real set up time.  Just gorgeous.)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Life and Gym Shoes



3:00am - wake up to a crying five year old...nightmares
4:30am - wake up miserably hot because the air conditioning isn't working
6:00am - wake up to an alarm clock and promptly disable it
7:27am - wake up to my husband saying, "hey...we overslept."
7:27am-7:58am...a blur of:
 - cereal and milk
 - cleaning up the splashed milk
 - making a sandwich...ugh...dirty sandwich container.  No problem - 'God made dirt, dirt won't hurt.'  
 - packing lunches...salad, salad dressing, berries, almonds, hard boiled eggs, apples, sandwich, grapes, water...
 - "Sadie - please stop laying across the chair and go brush your teeth!"
 - monitoring tooth brushing
 - picking out her outfit of the day - a skirt, a button down top, and her pink suede boots.  Cute.
 - "Mommy, I can't get my skirt on over my boots"
 - {impatiently} "Sadie, your skirt goes first - take the boots off and put the skirt on first."
 - picking out my outfit of the day...um...I wore this on the airplane yesterday.  It's cool, no one knows.
 - pony tail will have to work today...that's professional enough for a Friday, right?
 - fix Sadie's hair...
 - {yelling across the house} "Kendra, it's pretzel day at school...Sadie needs $0.50"
 - {ugh} "Sadie, as soon as I'm done with your hair, I need you to go to your piggy bank and get two quarters...the big silver ones with George Washington on them. k?"
 - "ok!"
 - brush my teeth...am I gonna miss my train?
 - "MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYY - I got the quarters!"
 - "Great - Put them in your pocket, please" 
 -  get myself dressed...where are my shoes??!
 - "Mommy - my teacher said we need a plastic baggie for our pretzels."
 - "Ok - go get a plastic baggie...the big kind, not the little kind...the pretzel won't fit in the little kind" AH - there you are, stupid shoes!
 - {remote voice from the kitchen} "I got the baggie!  I got the last big one!" 
 - Note to self...there's gonna be an empty ziplock box in the cabinet.  
 - grab the bags...a little girl backpack, a big girl backpack, two lunch boxes, a purse, and a brown paper bag full of "all-about-me" things...got 'em.
 - did I get my phone?  
 - is my badge in my purse?
 - is my book in my purse?
 - "Mommy, I'm holding the door for you!"
7:59am - out the door.
 - grab a lunchbox that falls to the ground in the rush
 - talk to the building engineer (you know...in passing) about our leaky A/C unit
8:02am - waiting.  waiting.  waiting. at the traffic light near our house.  I really need to turn left.  I'm going to miss my train.
8:03am - phone rings.  It's Eric. "Hey, do you want me to take Sadie's gym shoes to school?"
 - CRAP.  It's gym day.  She's wearing a skirt.  And suede boots.
 - "Eric, I'll just bring her back home - I have to change her clothes anyway...she can't wear a skirt to phys ed."
8:06am - U-turn.  I am definitely going to miss my train.
8:07am - pound the steering wheel impatiently and say "UGHHHHHHHHHH" because it's inappropriate to say "EFFING EFFITY EFF EFF" in front of a 5 year old.
8:08am - "Mommy?"
 - {deep breath} "yes, baby?"
 - "is it hard to be a mommy?"
...
 - oh.  my gosh. Every interaction I've had with Sadie this morning has communicated impatience and frustration.
...
 - "Honey, sometimes it's hard to be a mommy.  Sometimes it is.  But you are *always* worth it.  And, Sadie, do you know what?  Even on the days that are hard, you are the best thing I've ever done and I wouldn't trade being a mommy for anything in the world."
 - "Mommy?"
 - "What, honey?"
 - "I hope I can be a mommy one day..."

We walked back in the door.  I changed my baby into jeans and a tee shirt (and gym shoes).  We even remembered to take the quarters out of her skirt pocket and put them in her jeans pocket.  We got back in the car, and I leisurely drove her to school.  And we talked.  

...And when we walked hand-in-hand into her school, we saw EVERY kid there wearing their elementary school shirt for school spirit day. Oh. Em. Gee.

 - Crap.  Crap, crap, crap, crap, CRAP!  HOW is it possible that I'm the worst mom EVER?!
 - {look at ceiling.  close eyes.  look down sympathetically at a VERY sad-faced 5 year old} "Sadie, honey, I'm so sorry...we forgot that today was school spirit day..."
 - {creaky-voiced} "It's ok, mommy...I can just wear this shirt."
 - She doesn't want to make it hard for me to be a mommy. {sigh} Awesome
 - "No way, Jose.  I'm going to go back home and get your shirt...you just hang tight for a little bit, ok?"
 - it's cool...there's a later late train...
 - "Mommy - WAIT!  I put my shirt in my backpack yesterday!  I think it's still there!"
 
And, sure enough, the day is saved by a 5 year old with forethought.  

I missed my train, but that's ok because during the extra half hour it took for the next train to arrive, I remembered that my worst days as a mom have been better than my best days before I was a mom.  That, and I have the best kid ever.  Seriously.  

Yarn Bombing!

Y'ALL!  When I was in Denver, I saw a real live yarn bombing at the construction site of the soon-to-be-upgraded Union Station.

I know it's not technically a famous person (ok...it's not at all a famous person), but I felt a little star struck to be standing beside a real yarn graffiti masterpiece.  I know it's illegal, but it's officially my favorite crime...I mean, besides reading the Bible in China.

("Kendra, what is Yarn Bombing?"  - - Educate yourself).

The first two things I thought of when I saw the masterpiece were:
1) who on earth takes the time to knit something that will effectively be garbage in a couple of months (maybe even weeks)?
2) that is freaking awesome. 


Way to take something ugly and make it chouette Denverites (Denverians?  Denverish folk?).  I approve.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Errant Thought Roundup 61 - GUEST POST!

This gorgeous ETR brought to you by my gorgeous friend, Miss Pierce.  You can visit her (and enjoy her ever lovin' wit and wisdom) at Perfect Miss Pierce!  Please stop by and leave her a sweet note and thank her for enriching the world just by existing in it.  She is one of my favorite writers...and I know a lot of good writers.

Enjoy!


------------------------------------------------
I love, I love, I hate, I hate,
I like, I wish, for goodness sake...
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray,
I will, I won't, and for today...



I love...unexpected gifts.  Whether they show up on your desk at work,
in the mailbox at home or just plain random...this morning when I
almost spilled an entire cup of creamy coffee all over myself but
didn't, for example, felt like a gift.  When my grandma asked me
suddenly, "would you like me to pray with you" last year and it was
exactly what I wanted most in the world at that moment.  I love
unexpected gifts.

I love...eating without guilt, stress or fear.  I love the simple
pleasure of eating really great food and really enjoying the whole
experience.  Sadly, this happens rarely as I seem to be in the habit
of mindless over-eating which is not so great. Still, I love eating
good food.

I like...change...sort of...in theory...once it's over. I vacillate
somewhere between exhilariation and totally shutting down when it
comes to change.  I embrace it, I long for it and yet, I fear the
unknown.  Which brings me to the middle and in my mind, that lands me
at like.

I wish...that there was a better way to expand our thriving lives,
roads, buildings, cities, what-have-you that was kind to the creatures
we are displacing as we go.  Long ago if you brought a bunch of noisy
machines in to clear some land the animals could run further into the
forest.  Now, they have to run into busy streets and neighborhoods.  I
wish we were motivated to handle this in a better way.  I know we can
if we want to.  I wish we cared about protecting the vunerable when we
displace them.

For goodness sake...quit spitting everywhere.  Really.  It's gross.
Guys, you know who you are.  Use a trash can or do it in the sink.
What is wrong with you?  Really. Gross.

I hope...that there are more happy secrets for me to keep in the
future.  I love those.

I hope...that someday I get to travel again and really enjoy it.  For
long periods of time...just travel.  Oh, and eat.  Yeah.  Travel and
eat and shop.  Oh, how I hope for that.

I pray...that every person being held captive on this earth gets to be
free again.  It's a weird prayer, I guess, but let's be honest.  You
hear about it all the time.  People hold each other captive.  For
YEARS.  It's horrifying.  I pray for them.  That they have hope.  That
something good comes their way.  That they are freed.

I pray...that I can learn how to pray.  My mind wanders.  Meditation,
prayer, yoga...I start with some good thought, "Dear God" and end up
"Ohhh I wonder if that purse is still on sale."

I will...never give up! Never surrender!

I won't...believe the worst.

and for today...I am grateful for all that I have and all that is yet to come.



-------------------------------------------------



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unleash! Launch Week Book Review



I own a lot of books.  Very few of my books appear to be in good, unabused condition.  If there is a book on my shelf without writing, highlighting and/or dog-eared pages, it’s probably what I like to call “crap literature.”  I write in books that speak to me. I highlight passages, I underline key points, I dog-ear pages, I fold to margins – I do whatever it takes to be able to go back to a book I like and quickly find the passages and points that provoke me to thought or action. 

While most of my books have at least a passage or two underlined, I have rarely met a book that I have thrashed beyond recognition using my trusty fancy pen (Pilot Precise V7…retractable, if you’re interested.  I’m a pen snob.) or an army of highlighters.  Perry Noble’s new book Unleash! has achieved the high honor of being practically unrecognizable as a book now that I’ve finished it.  My handwriting and dog-earring are literally cover-to-cover.  The fact that this book appears to have been abused by someone who enjoys cruelly punishing the written word speaks to how meaningful I found the content to be.  I feel so fortunate to have been selected as part of the Unleash! launch team. 


Synopsis:
God chose you.  He handpicked you.  You are not unimportant, and He wants so much for your life. He wants you to experience joy. He loves you because you’re His – not because of anything you’ve done for Him and not because of any effort you put into making yourself a good Christian.  When we meditate on and understand the gift of God’s grace, the overflow of gratitude from our hearts will spill out into our hands and we will do the work He has called us to do as a result of that amazing grace.  In other words, we won’t feel obligated to act out of some vain ambition to do good in order to please God.  Instead, we’ll act out of a motivation that comes from an abundance of appreciation for what He has done for us and for what He wants to accomplish in and through us. If we are in fellowship with Christ, we are set apart for great things – things that can be catalyzed through understanding that God is the one doing the work…not us. You may be ordinary, but God isn’t.  The Bible tells story after story of God using ordinary people to accomplish supernatural and extraordinary things.  If you’re still breathing, God isn’t finished with you yet.

A few quotable quotes:
“…He is able to accomplish far more than we could ever think or imagine – not because of who we are but because of whose we are.” (p.55) [emphasis mine]

“…if God has gifted you to do something, you will not have to tell anyone.”  (p.58) – whoa.  What are you doing that people tell you you were born to do?

[on community/friendship] “…it’s a spiritual impossibility to become the people Jesus wants us to be without letting others in.” (p.164)

Why I loved it:
Readability.  There’s no flowery language or picturesque metaphor – the language is simple.  Perry isn’t enamored with hearing himself talk.  Unleash! is not hard to follow because it reads like a conversation with a friend.

Fast but Meaty.  It passes the fast-but-meaty test.  I totally just made that test up, but it makes sense, right?  I got through this book in a few hours, but the content was dense and significant.  Some books are long for the sake of being long…Perry gets to the point, and you can tell that almost every word is there for a reason.  The goal clearly wasn’t to fill out a chapter with spare fluff; it was to make sure that the core message was presented succinctly, clearly, and powerfully.

Key Quotes.  Inevitably, the lines in the book that were the most thought provoking (you know…where you have to put the book down, look up, and just meditate on the words for a minute?), were the ones that were in their own special quote box on the pages.  I love it when authors do that.  Makes highlighting easier.

References to Relevant Scripture.  Have you ever read a book that was like, “With faith, mountains will move!” and then they quote a completely irrelevant verse in the Bible like, “and Cainan lived 70 years and begat Mehalaleel." (Gen 5:12).  Hallelujah!  Just kidding – it’s never that bad, but sometimes it does feel like a real stretch between the point the author is making and the verse that is being referenced.  Not in Unleash!  Perry doesn’t pull scripture to support his message, he forms content to support God’s message.  Relevance is inevitable when you build your concepts around scripture instead of the other way around.

Encouragement.  I have this little thing I’m doing on the back burner.  I feel so moved to…well…MOVE.  I also have a couple of friends who are going through their own respective difficult (and/or interesting) times, and I found myself making note after note “Make sure to send this passage to M.” or “This is so relevant for D’s circumstances right now.”  Or “I need to pray this over S.”  Writing that inspires you is always worth the read.

Why you should read it:
Aside from all of the aforementioned awesome within the pages of Unleash!, there are a couple of other things in the book that I don’t want you to continue to live your life without knowing - these were the “game changers” for me:
1.  There is a lie that Christians (including me – eep!) have propagated ad infinitum.  It was such an “a ha!” moment for me that I had to put the book down and reason with myself about it so that I could be sure I understood.  It’s a hard pill to swallow when you suddenly realize how patently wrong you have been about something. 
2.  Perry outlines an extremely uncomplicated way to discover what God may be calling you to do in your life.  The lead in says, “There are books you can read, tests you can take, and prayers you can pray to help you figure out your gifts and what God might be calling you to.  But it doesn’t have to be complicated.”

The motivation that I feel to allow God to move through me to accomplish His ends comes from a brand new place now that I have read this book.  It’s not that I wasn’t motivated to watch God work before reading it, it’s just that if I’m being honest, my motivation stemmed more from obligation to pay back the One who had given me so much.  Now, I am growing in the understanding that it’s not about reciprocating God’s goodness – I can never repay Him for the gift of grace He has given me.  My job is to love others the way that He has loved me…my job is to move forward not out of obligation to be a good person and not out of obligation to “return the favor” to God, but out of an inability to control the unrestrained gratitude in my heart for the grace I have been extended.

I am ecstatic to have been a part of the Unleash! launch team – the read was worth every second.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sewn Paper Party Streamers Tutorial


I made these for a friend's baby's baptism party, and they turned out so cute that I couldn't resist a quick how-to!

Supplies:
Fun paper
1.5" circle punch
scissors
sewing machine
ribbon

Step 1: Punch lots of circles.  I punched 160 I think - enough for 10-12 streamers.  I also free-handed some little birds to punctuate the dots, but they are, of course, optional.

Step 2: Lay out your pieces the way you'll want them to look when they're strung.

Step 3: Stack up your pieces, and start sewing!  I attached the top piece to a 7" length of ribbon so that they would be easy to hang from the ceiling or tie onto whatever-the-heck-you-tie-streamers-to.  Don't be nervous to sew through paper...it works like a dream.  

Here's a quick video tutorial:

Once they're all done, you can hang them!  Or...erm...hide kindergarteners behind them. :)

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Children




Made for a friend's baby baptism.  Printable here. (prints to 5x7)


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Barbershop Window

"Founded 1954"

Everything about this place shouts '1954' right down to the note on the front door. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Paleo Shepherd's Pie (+ cheese!)

My absolute favorite Paleo dish so far!

By the way - I'm using the term "Paleo" a little loosely.  This recipe calls for cream cheese and parmesan cheese because my family still eats dairy.  If you don't eat dairy, no sweat - just sub out my mashed cauliflower recipe for a different paleo version sans dairy products :)

MOST of this recipe is stolen from Elana's Pantry with some minor changes for our family.  She does a fabulous job with this recipe - I just gave it a couple if tiny twists.

Paleo Shepherd's Pie
1lb grass fed beef
1 cup (1/2 can) chicken broth)
2 chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion diced
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 strips uncooked bacon
2 heads cauliflower
2 tbsp cream cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Serves 6

1.  Heat olive oil in an extra large frying pan
2.  Saute onion for 10 minutes until slightly browned and clear
4.  Add bacon slices by crumbling into pan - saute for about 10 minutes
4.  Add carrots and celery to pan and saute in bacon and onion for 10 minutes
5.  Add ground beef to pan and saute until browned
6.  Season with salt, pepper, and paprika
7.  Add chicken broth and cook broth down until 60% evaporated


8.  Place beef mixture into a 9x13 baking dish
9.  Make mashed cauliflower (I start my water boiling around the same time as I'm adding celery and carrots - timing is almost perfect for my range).
10.  Pour mashed cauliflower on top of beef mixture in baking dish and spread evenly to edges
11.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
Top with cheese if desired and serve!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Errant Thought Roundup 60

I love, I love, I hate, I hate,
I like, I wish, for goodness sake...
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray,
I will, I won't, and for today...

I love my camera-stealing, self-portrait snapping, baby girl...
I love my friendships.  Divinely appointed fo shizzle.  (I bet I'm the only person in the world who has ever used those four words in the same sentence.  Booyah.)
I hate that our stupid ceiling is leaking in our closet for the SECOND TIME in a week!  Argh!  It prevented us from hanging out with friends tonight.  I do not approve.
(and a pot to catch the drips)
I hate that I don't have a new book to start tomorrow.  Another thing the darn leaky ceiling prevented.  I'm thinking about reading A Tale of Two Cities.  Never read it and it's collecting dust on the shelf.  Either that or I'll re-read The Count of Monte Cristo.  Again.
I like fashion blogs.  A lot.
I wish I had actually had the guts to launch this guacamole at my husband when he snapped this one.  That would have been freaking awesome if not such a senseless waste of amazing guacamole.   
For goodness sake, snap out of it.  I mean, not you, but that other chick who needs to snap out of it. I know summer is in the rear view mirror now, but I think people are using the season change as an excuse to be melancholy.  Do you get that feeling too?  Otherwise people are just being melancholy for no reason.  Get happy, kids.  Life's waiting.
I hope we don't have another yogurt incident...my poor baby didn't think the cafeteria at her elementary school provided trash cans.  Bless.
I hope I get coffee before I get on the train tomorrow.  I know it's stupid (mostly because I like cheap coffee and won't drink it for about 20 minutes after I buy it), but I LOVE holding a cup of coffee while I read my book and exist anonymously on the train in the mornings.  
I pray for my family.  I pray God would shape it the way He wants it shaped.  His shapes are cooler than mine.
I pray for you.  If you're reading this and you have a need, please consider it prayed for.  I don't know what it is, but God does, and he doesn't mind me praying without knowing what I'm talking about - He's totally used to me not knowing what I'm talking about.
I will try to post my new favorite paleo recipe this week - paleo shepherd's pie!!!  To die for - you're gonna love it.  
I won't give up on my friends - even when they act like they want me to.
And for today...my sweet little girl has the opportunity to get a "gold ticket" every day in her class if she does things that show care for others.  So far this week, she's gotten three gold tickets!  We promised her a (non-food) treat for being so caring this week - she asked for a carousel ride.  I am so proud - my cup runneth over. 



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

For My Homies



You know who you are, ladies.

Terrain

A couple of my best girls and I went to daydream at the coolest store EVER this weekend.  
I'm 5'8(ish...you know, on a good day)...It appears that I like to surround myself with women who are taller than me (and gorgeous to boot).

Terrain is Anthropologie's answer to gardening and garden supplies.  Drooling yet?  Wait 'til you see the photos...

All of these gorgeous photos courtesy of my insanely talented friend Denise (on the left in the photo above...hint: she's the one with all the camera equipment).  If you're in the greater Philly area and would like her info, message me at southerndisposition [at] gmail [dot] com.  She's building a portfolio, so while her work is worth gazillions, I bet she'd give you a SouthernDisposition discount.  (You can tell her I said that).





























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