Monday, December 22, 2008

Pictures & Things

First, the good news is that I finally finished the puzzle I started with my mom and sister at Thanksgiving. After they left, I was too depressed thinking about them leaving to work on the puzzle. But it's done now.

Then, Tim had the kids outside yesterday raking leaves... some of the happy memories....

Finally, Libby took this picture from our Christmas tree... and so I leave you with this hope for your holiday season and your life...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things that bother English Majors and One Year Olds

A handwritten sign on the drive-thru window at McDonalds today said:

"Please turn off your winsheild wipers"

Sam noticed the error right away......

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My sweet little boy

The PTA at the kids' school has a week every Christmas when they set up a "store" in the library for the kids to do their Christmas shopping. They can buy inexpensive gifts for their family and friends and the PTA wraps the stuff for them. Yesterday I sent Jacob to school with $10 (and by the way, whatever amount you send, the child is going to be encouraged to spend the entire amount)... and on the envelope there is a place for you to list who the child is shopping for. I listed- Dad, Mom, Sarah and Libby. When the envelope came home, they had made a note of how much he had spent on each family member to account for the money. Here is what his envelope said when it came home:

Dad- $2.00
Mom- $1.00
Sarah- $1.25
Libby- $1.25
Jacob- $4.00

He told me, "I had enough money leftover to buy something for myself!" Isn't he precious? (If you know me, you know that is sarcasm!) But I did laugh about it alot.

In hockey news, his team lost last night to the red team 0-9. Ouch. And the coach wasn't too happy with them, I am told, in the locker room afterward. But then, it was off to Chik-fil-a for a Christmas party and gift exchange and they all seemed to have a great time.

Friday, December 5, 2008


"Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste." Prov. 24:13

Helpful tip from Dr. Brenda: honey can be used as cough medicine... and to me, it works just as well as Robitussin, but tastes much better. The first time I tried it on myself, it was because I had a cough traveling in the car and all I had was a honey stick available... the cough stopped right away, but I thought it might be a fluke. Last night, I had a coughing attack and so I tried the honey again. One teaspoon and my cough stopped. This morning, I had another coughing attack and took two teaspoons (for good measure and because the piano tuner was here and I didn't want him to think I have TB or something).....and it stopped right away again. Yay! I love natural remedies!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mere Christianity

Coincidentally (??), I decided earlier this week to read C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity just because I never had and I had decided it was time to start reading all the books I have always wanted to, but haven't. When I told my friend Lisa about it, she remembered she had joined an online group that was to start discussing the same book this very week.... hmmmm.... kind-of weird, I guess.... so I signed up, too.

I thought I would bring you all on my journey through what is, so far, an interesting book by a very smart guy. And I've never read any C.S. Lewis, which I know it kind-of weird in itself. The online discussion is a once-a-week thing and this is the day. And it's certainly not too late to sign up yourself if you want to... or to just read along with me. :-)
This week we were reading just the Preface and Foreward. Here are a couple things that jumped out at me from the Preface (the first one's kind-of long).

"The reader should be warned that I offer no help to anyone who is hesitating between two Christian 'denominations'. You will not learn from me whether you ought to become an Anglican, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, or a Roman Catholic. This omission is intentional... There is no mystery about my own position. I am a very ordinary layman of the Church of England... I think we must admit that the discussion of these disputed points {of "high theology or ecclesiastical history"} has no tendency at all to bring an outsider into the Christian fold. So long as we write and talk about them we are much more likely to deter him from entering any Christian communion than to draw him into our own. Our divisions should never be discussed except in the presence of those who have already come to believe that there is one God and that Jesus Christ is His only Son."

Amen to that. I can't even think of anything to say except to agree.

He goes on to say:

"I am not writing to expound something I could call 'my religion', but to expound 'mere' Christianity, which is what it is and was what it was long before I was born and whether I like it or not."

So, from this it seems I am going to like C.S. Lewis because he is practical (I love practical) and seems to want to see what is there at the foundation of our faith- which is hard to see (isn't it?) through all of our upbringing and traditions and pre-conceived notions.
Hopefully I will have more to say next week when we do Book 1.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Salmon and Macaroni and Cheese

I tried two new recipes from Taste of Home magazine last night and we loved them both. All I have to share is a picture of the leftovers, which will be Tim's dinner tomorrow night. :-)

Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. butter

1 tsp. honey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (I used regular)

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 Salmon filet (2 1/2 lbs.)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir the brown sugar, butter and honey until melted. Remove from the heat; whisk in the oil, mustard, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cool for 5 minutes.

Place salmon in a large foil-lined baking pan; brush with brown sugar mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork.

** I quadrupled this recipe because I had four salmon filets to make. I also cooked it on the grill instead of the oven. I just made a little "pan" from aluminum foil and put it on the grill on the lowest setting. Yum. Very, very good. And salmon is SO good for you, too.


1 pkg. (16 oz.) elbow macaroni

3 cups (24 oz.) 4 % cottage cheese (I used 2%)

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

3 cups half-and-half cream

1 cup milk

4 cups (16 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese


1 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, place cottage cheese in food processor, cover and process until smooth. Set aside. (I completely skipped that step and just dumped the cottage cheese in as is).

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic salt until smooth. Gradually add cream and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Drain macaroni; transfer to a large bowl. Add the cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and white sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 pan (Dish will be full). Combine bread crumbs and butter- sprinkle over top.

Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

**I halved the recipe and used a square baking dish. Also, the half-and-half I bought said it was a combination of milk and cream. So I just used that in place of the milk and cream... in my case, since I halved the recipe, I used 2 cups of it. Finally, for bread crumbs, try "Panko" crumbs... they are found in the ethnic food aisle sometimes, and also sometimes where the other bread crumbs are found.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Agreeing with God- Part II

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:9-11

When I read this, I asked myself, "When is the last time I really "spent" myself in behalf of the hungry? (ESV says "pour yourself out"). Does making dinner for my family every night count? (Some nights, it seems so :-)). But then, how have I ever really helped the "oppressed". And malicious talk? ... yes, earlier today I did some of that. And yesterday, and the day before.

Sitting in darkness, feeling tired, hungry and thirsty as I often am these days (and I mean more than physically)... do I seek a solution in the act of pouring myself out to others? Or do I go and run a hot bath or grab a bag of Twizzlers or take a nap? I have all sorts of solutions for making myself feel better... but most are not really in line with God's solutions. I think one reason for this may be that I don't agree with God that his solutions will lead me to the places I want to go. They seem so contradictory and counter-productive. ("Spend myself" when I am already completely spent? How is that?)

Recently someone very wise said to me that it is time for me to really claim the promises God has made. And I can't figure out why that is such a hard thing at times. Until I realize that my own thinking isn't always lined up with God's, as it ought to be.

God, increase my faith.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Moon Landings- Hoax or Reality?

Just kidding- I don't really think the moon landings were a hoax. When you live in Huntsville, you're not allowed to think those blasphemous thoughts. Ha. Today we saw the IMAX movie, "Magnificent Desolation". It was good. :-) I have lots of thoughts floating around about the movie and NASA and space exploration in general... but there are too many people in my house right now to allow me to form any of them into complete sentences. :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Highlights from our Thanksgiving Dinner

We missed you, dad!

Peeling & mashing potatoes:

Pies and turkey:

Hard at work:

Kids' Table:

Adults' table:

Washing dishes:

First puzzle in progress:

First puzzle finished Friday morning:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pictures tomorrow.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


When I was in 2nd grade, I got a makeup set as a gift that I really, really loved. One day after a friend played at my house, the makeup set disappeared. The next day at school... the friend had an identical makeup set with her!!! When I told the teacher it was mine, the friend claimed her aunt had visited and given her the set as a gift. She was adamant and the teacher had no grounds to believe me over her even though I knew it was mine, because there was a little nick out of the applicator in the compact, the same as had been in mine. Oh, how angry I was. Later, my mom called the girls' mom, but she lied and said she had no idea what we were talking about. I never got it back and never got any satisfaction about it until .... today. 31 years later God has blessed me with peace about this situation. My dad has gotten re-acquainted with this girl, now a grown woman and a christian, and when he first mentioned her to me a couple years ago, I asked him, "Did you ask her where my makeup kit is?!". I was joking, but isn't it interesting that even after all these years, the mention of her name immediately brought to mind the injustice she had done me? Of course, he never asked her about it, but then today he told me that she recently admitted to him that she had once stolen something from our house!!!!!!!!!!!! She didn't say what, but I know it was my makeup kit that she is talking about. Have patience and the truth will always come out! And the truth is so nice! Yay!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Agreeing with God- Part 1

"Agree with God and be at peace" Job 22:21 (ESV)

A couple years ago my Jehovah's Witness friend (I call her a friend because she has visited several times and I kind-of like her) came to my door and told me that when Jesus comes back to set up His earthly kingdom, then we will have peace. "Won't that be great?" she asked. I know that she spoke of peace on a global scale (which certainly would be great!), but I said to her, "Don't you think God promises us peace now?" This is something I believe with all of my reason... (as I believe Jesus will never come back and set up an earthly kingdom)... that peace is available to us in Christ NOW. It is not something we have to wait for Jesus to bring in the future- He has already made it possible and it is available to everyone now despite, and in the midst of, all the suffering and trauma of the world.

And I believe that. But, I sort-of felt like a hypocrite at the time, asking myself, "Brenda, have you really experienced that peace that you are so sure is available? And if not, why not?" My response to myself was "Just shut up, Brenda". Ha ha. :-) But, I do continue to really desire that peace that passes understanding.

I LOVE this verse in Job that I re-visited today and have decided to make it my new life motto... something to write on my doorpost and bind on my forehead. I plan to spend some time seriously thinking about the areas where I have a hard time agreeing with God and imagine the possibilities if I were only to surrender.

More on this subject later.....

Monday, November 24, 2008


If you like to play games on the computer- I have discovered one that is alot of fun and I am kind-of addicted to. It's called Alchemy and you can find it on AOL games. Just go to and then look for games (on the left side) and click on it. Search for Alchemy. Play the tutorial, it's really helpful. Then have fun. And don't say I didn't warn you - it's addicting. :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Psalm 100:4-5 (from The Message)
"Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever".

Thank you, God, for all that you've done and are. :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Funny for the Day

Someone scheduled holiday pictures at school on the same day that the kids were supposed to dress up in clothes representing what they want to be when they grow up. I actually forgot about the holiday picture thing all together. The result is below. Please let me know if you want to order any. Ha ha.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things I Amuse Myself Thinking About....

It's hard to make out in this picture, but as I was baking a Betty Crocker carrot cake tonight, I noticed on the box the phrase, "With Carrot Flavored Pieces". That really begs the question (in my mind).... Carrot flavored pieces... of what?! Rubber? Grass? Cat teeth? Just what?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Pet Peeve of Mine

Should this bother me? It's not the fact that Jacob has a project to do that bothers me (although who likes school projects? No one that I know....), but it's the fact that it's called a "Family Turkey Project" that bothers me. Since when can the school assign homework to our whole family?!.. and we all know that specifically means who? Yes, the mommy. I'll be okay- just wanted to share this little pet peeve of mine since it has happened more than once since my kids have been in school.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pretty Flowers

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

Okay, well.... don't we wish??! :-) I love Fall, but as Fall slowly turns into Winter and I sit here with little icicles for fingers typing, then I start to remember that I like Spring, too! :-) This is one of my favorite pictures that Tim has taken. I like it so much that we had it printed in an 8 x 10 with the intention of hanging it on the kitchen wall, but haven't gotten around to it. Now that I am reminded... I will renew my efforts to find the perfect frame.

Monday, November 17, 2008

He Separates the Night

Did anyone in Huntsville tonight (Monday) look at the sky in the West about 5:00? If you did, it was kind-of cool because there was a very dark cloud just above the horizon that was making an almost perfectly straight line across the sky and below it was a constrasting bright sky, mostly orangeish, from the sunset. I SOOO wish I had a camera with me, but I didn't. The picture above is something I found on the internet that will sort-of give you an idea of what I'm describing... but it wasn't stormy or raining. It was just a cloud like this. It was pretty enough to cause Jacob, who was riding in the car with me on the way to hockey, to comment about how neat it looked.

And I almost hesitate to tell these stories at times, because I feel like someone may think I am making them up... but then, I don't know if I really care if you think I'm making it up. Ha ha. :-) I know it really happened this way. Just as I was turning onto the expressway to head West and was taking notice of the sky, I was singing along to my Tenth Avenue North CD .... these exact lyrics: "Lord of brilliant light, You separate the night...." from the song "You Are" (full lyrics below). It was a pretty neat moment. Very full of God.

Lord of empty space
You breathe and then create
Before the earth was made
You are

The King of every age
Outside of time and space
The heavens speak Your name
You are You are

Lord of brilliant light
You separate the night
And everything inside
You are

The One who calms the seas
And every part of me
With just a word You speak
You are You are.

I give You all of me for all You are
Here I am
Take me apart Take me apart, etc.

Angels bowing down
Beneath the rushing sound
A voice that thunders out
You are

The one who holds the stars
And the beating of my heart
Exalted above all
You are You are