When cooking up a storm is not a good thing…

The house smells awesome…

Chicken baking in the oven…

Corn cooking in the crockpot…

Beef stewing meat being browned…

Onions and garlic sauteing…

Is your mouth watering? Are you wondering what the big occasion might be? Do you want directions to my house?

Actually, it is a very sad event that is responsible for all the wonderful smells…my refrigerator bit the dust.

We initially blamed the kiddos…all that scaling up the doors and leaving the doors open.

But…nope…it just stopped working. On a Monday morning. With a houseful of children and guests on the way and the annual Christmas caroling event at our house on Friday and the Christmas program on Sunday and getting ready for traveling North for Christmas and…

Timing, after all, IS everything. Right?

So I have cooked everything I could salvage. And it is safely stored in the freezer in the basement. But not everything made the cut and I had to throw out a LOT of food, and that just irritated the socks off my feet.

We went shopping for a new refrigerator last night…and now I must give you a lesson in compromise history that comes back to bite me big time. Again.

We moved into our house less than five years ago. It came with a fairly new WHITE refrigerator. With an ice maker and water IN THE DOOR…high tech for me.

We knew we had to buy all the other appliances at the time, and I really wanted to get BLACK. Including a NEW refrigerator. In BLACK.

Mr. Practical thought it was not reasonable to get rid of a perfectly good refrigerator just because the color was wrong. And I could not reconcile buying all new BLACK appliances.

An impasse.

I had to agree with Mr. Practical, being so practical and all, so we bought a WHITE dishwasher, stove and microwave. (If you are ever in that predicament–GET BLACK!!!)

My appliances have not been white since they entered the kitchen.

So last night we went to purchase my unexpected Christmas present. And the color dilemma reared its ugly head. Back and forth. Black or White?

In all fairness to Mr. Practical, he let me choose the model I wanted and any color I wanted.

Yeah…right. I currently have a kitchen full of WHITE appliances. I really wanted BLACK. Still. And I got a scratch and dent discount. And the identical model was available in both colors. And it was up to me. Again.

Gag me, please!!!

“I really want Black. But it will bug me if the others are white. And I just want to be able to be content to have a refrigerator that WORKS. But I really want BLACK.”

“Get what you want.”

Ummm, I don’t think all new appliances is budget friendly or wise…do you? Neither did he. And he actually made me try to determine a time-frame wherein I would not be perturbed by said mismatched appliances. He is all heart, that man of mine.

So…I got white. And I am a little bummed today, but trying very hard to just be thankful that I was able to get a new one. And I AM really thankful for it (it isn’t here yet, but I am still thankful), even if it isn’t what I really wanted.

And, of course, there are so many verses about contentment and having a thankful heart…and don’t forget about the “lust of the eyes” either…I know…I had to preach myself a sermon. And it was a really good sermon. I used lots of verses and anecdotal stories taken from real life situations to drill the point home.

I need to be a better listener of my sermons.

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Hmmm, I’m Thankful…I Think

The plumber is here.

Yes, it’s the day before Thanksgiving. And the plumber is here, plunging the toilet.

The toilet gets a lot of use here, with all the people who are supposedly potty-trained.

It also gets a lot of secret deposits…you know the kind…toys, rags, sticks, combs, brushes, little people figures…

Somehow each child finds it necessary to explore the limits of the toilet’s functionality. And it is Curly Top who seems to give the poor plumbing a run for its money…pun is clearly intended.

So the plumber is here.

But since I LOVE my little granddaughter so much, I don’t begrudge her sending whatever it was for a swim, even if it meant we all had to practice the skills required to use a plunger. So I reaffirmed my love for her.

Yes…YOU!

 

“I love you, Curly Top,” said most tenderly and with great affection.

She looked at me and spit her gum on the floor.

“You little rascal!” I responded, as I tried to grab the gum off the floor.

She beat me to it, grabbing it and plopping it back in her mouth.

“Spit it out! Spit it out!” I demanded.

She worked her gums as fast as she could and SWALLOWED IT! The little rat!!!

I couldn’t believe it. Her mom and I just stood there in amazement. We couldn’t believe what we had just seen. Then we burst out laughing.

And now, I just hope she doesn’t need her own pipes cleaned by the plumber!

The kid not even three…we are in deep trouble. But…yes, I am thankful!

Majesty

Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Alaska 

Psalm 121

The Lord Our Protector

A song of ascents.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from theLord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.

The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.

The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

{I took this photograph a few years ago while driving between Delta Junction and Palmer, Alaska. My husband was born and raised in Nome, Alaska, but this was my first drive along this stretch of the state.}

A Rose is a Rose

My husband often will bring me a flower. Sometimes it’s for a specific date that is special in our relationship. Our family and friends tease us that we are celebrating something every single day. But seriously, is that really a problem? There are those typical dates that get remembered. The first date. First kiss. Engagement. Anniversary. But in our case we also have the first meal, the first perfume, first ring, second ring…so I guess you get the idea.

My husband loves to surprise me. Once he had 25 roses delivered to me at my office. THAT was pretty spectacular. He loves red roses. I don’t. But even though they were red roses, they were just plain magnificent. For some reason, pink and yellow roses speak to me more than the red, but Superman is a sentimentalist at heart, and red roses=love in his mind.

There was a time that he wanted to give me a rose that would never die. It was preserved in some sort of crystal ball. Unfortunately the seal broke at some point and poof…the rose was spoiled.

Then he got me a beautiful porcelain yellow rose to lay on my desk. It was really beautiful. But…it gathered dust. And had no beautiful scent. And the petals weren’t delicate like a true rose. No matter how hard we may try, there is no substitute for the genuine thing.

So much has been written through the ages about roses and their symbolism. And even the thorns are not without allegory. For some reason the rose continues to be that flower that represents life in its most gentle and beautiful form. Easily bruised like we are. Thorny at times to ward off danger. Blooms that are fleeting just like our lives. The span of man’s life in the balance of eternity is just a microscopic speck.

The Bible refers to Jesus as the Rose of Sharon and also the Lily of the Valley. A tender bloom. A gift to the bride, His church. The giver of life. It’s no wonder that a rose bud has long been the symbol of pre-born life. Roses require regular care if they are going to bloom.

My husband loves to express his love for me in a number of ways, but I must say that while I didn’t use to appreciate the short life span of the flowers, they have come to mean so much more than just a wilted bunch of flowers. The symbolism is far greater than just the flower itself. And that, my friends, is precious.

delicate reminder of tender love

tender sweetness

The Fourth of July without Fireworks

Here in our little ‘burb in St. Louis we have an annual 4th of July celebration…the old fashioned kind with the parade, marching bands, neighborhood lawn chair dancers, even the bed pan brigade. We also have a carnival with rides and booths that allows the kids to go squander their hard-earned allowances or their parents’ salaries. Each night, we get to watch awesome fireworks displays on the football field.

Except for this year.

We are experiencing an unbelievable drought and heat wave that began in June. We see signs along roadways warning us of the extremely high risk of wild fires. In the suburbs. In the mid-west. Today it’s supposed to reach 109° and tomorrow 110°. This is pretty wacky weather, even for us.

So this year, our fireworks were cancelled. It made the front page of the local paper.

the 4th was not the same without the fireworks accompanied by patriotic music

But even worse than that…stores were open all day, normal business hours. I was shocked. My daughter pointed out that stores are open all the time on holidays. I waxed nostalgic.

“I remember when nothing was open on any holidays. When we couldn’t even go get hot chocolate at McDonalds on Christmas Eve, or when restaurants weren’t even open on holidays. When grocery stores weren’t open on Sundays…”

I believe she rolled her eyes at me…but it made me sad. No days are important anymore. Families don’t get to spend the holidays together because someone has to work. Getting together for quality time as a family is already challenging, but to take away the few important, special holidays and turning them into nothing but an opportunity to make a few more bucks just ticks me off.

Do you know what you get when you cross a patriotic person with an historic heat wave that wipes out the fireworks? A ticked off, patriotic, nostalgic, sentimental and overheated person who likes change but not THIS kind of change.

Sigh…