Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy New Year?

If I had continued working at the preschool, today would have been my first day of work. Instead, I am at home, in my exercise clothes, ferrying children hither and yon, doing laundry, ironing, cooking. Now THIS is my dream job. Seriously! I know that I know that I belong here. It is a new season for me!

Don't get me wrong, I am going to miss working with the fabulous ladies that are there at school. They are a bunch of very wise, encouraging, godly women. They are the REAL DEAL. I learned a TON from them last year. It was a gift from Jesus to be there with them. They got me through a very, very tough year! I'll always be grateful for that.

(I'll miss the paycheck too. It wasn't a huge amount, but it helped!)

I've been reading a bit about Rosh Hashanah...I learned that there are several 'New Year' concepts in Judaism, Rosh Hashanah being only one of them. The Sabbath that falls during the 9 day period during Rosh Hashanah is called the Shabbat Shuvah: the Sabbath of Return.

I sure do like that. I'm so grateful that the Lord specializes in new beginnings!! And fall seems the right time for another new start: for some reflection, for repentance before God, for reconciliation before the Lord and before people, for counting blessings, for being thankful, for looking forward to all that the next season will bring. This year, Rosh Hashanah begins on September 29. I hope no one minds if I begin celebrating early.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
Hosea 6:1-3
"Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Let us know the LORD; let us press on to know him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."
John 17:3
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bike Bug

Since last Wednesday when school began, Kristin and I have ridden our bikes to and from her school most of the days. Ackerman is about 1/2 mile from our house. About a mile beyond the school is a lake (Zorinsky) with trails around it. The lake is divided in to two is 4.2 miles around and the other is around 3. I decided to ride the big side of the lake last week after Kristin locked up her bike and went into the school. It was great!!

David expressed concern that if we were going to make a habit of riding to school, that I should get a helmet. Kristin and I both got new helmets last Saturday morning. We rode around part of the small side of the lake that day together. Kristin LOVED the adventure of being somewhere new. She ditched her training wheels just this last summer and is loving the two-wheeled freedom! I had to remind her many times to stay close to the right side of the trail as we tootled around the lake...she was a little annoyed by my reminders! She was so cute when she'd come up behind someone walking in the same direction as we...she'd call, "Passing on your left!". People got a big kick out of her, as did I.

This week, I decided I'd try riding both sides of the lake. I have done it twice now. I try to go as fast as I can without killing myself or someone else. I can tell that if I keep this up I am going to have to explore more of the Omaha biking trails. I was already bored, just doing the same route twice. I need to keep myself interested, as our fam has begun a renewed conflict: the battle of the bulge. (David and Dan have been walking almost nightly for about a month!...since we returned from our vacation.) I believe the main reason I have not kept up with being active in the past (besides laziness!) has been boredom.

Before I do much more riding, though, I NEED a better seat. The bike I have belonged to my wonderful father-in-law. He probably bought it about 15-20 years ago. He gave it to us about 8 years ago, I think. It is in great shape still, but that seat......ouch.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Difficult Farewell

Last Thursday I left w/the Cahills & our sweet friend, Ashley, for Sulphur Springs, Texas to celebrate the life of our friend, Larry Cameron. What a special time it was.
At the visitation, so many came to pay their respects. I counted 36 flower arrangements and plants. Sulphur Springs is not a big town, but Larry made a big impact for Jesus and it showed. The family had a container of Sharpie markers near Larry's black and orange Harley Davidson casket and asked each visitor to pen a short note. The casket was completely covered with notes thanking Larry for his friendship, for his example, for his care. At the funeral there was standing room only (and not much of that). The church was half filled with his friends from the Christian Motorcycle Association (C.M.A.) in their cool uniforms. Awesome! Following the very moving service, there was a procession of 76 bikes and at least a mile-long procession of cars as we made our way to the cemetery. Larry loved Nebraska football and each of the bikers flew Nebraska flags on their bikes (a BIG deal for these die-hard Longhorn fans). After a wonderful, horrible, precious, exhausting time, we arrived home Sunday night.

Last night was the memorial for Larry C. here in Omaha. Again, it was an incredible gathering of people who loved Larry. Many familiar faces were there. There was yet another contingent of the C.M.A. at the memorial. I know it must have been a comfort to the family and those very close to him to see all who attended. There were beautiful flowers and precious words from Pastor Ty, Larry's three brothers and his son, Jeremy.

I had the very special privilege of singing at both services. People often tell me that (if I outlast them...) they'd like me to sing at their funeral services. It is an honor to be asked. I am always humbled by it! If memory serves, Larry asked (told!) me one day while hanging out at the Cahill's house that he'd like me to sing at his funeral someday. After Larry's death, Jeff recalled that Larry had a specific song in mind: "How Beautiful" (Twila Paris).

Prior to this week, I don't believe I've sung that tune at a funeral or memorial service. I've done it MANY times at weddings, especially in the '90's. When I learned of this choice before we left for Texas, I was not sure that it was appropriate. Boy, was I wrong. Larry's was a life of service and sacrifice to Jesus lived out in his everyday life as he cared for his children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. He was an extension of the literal body of our Lord Jesus, giving his life away again and again for the glory of the Lord. I can't think of a more fitting song. See the lyrics:

Not to be too morbid, but as I looked around at the crowd last night, I saw many who have asked me to sing in their services. I had the thought that Larry's funeral and memorial are some of the toughest services I've sung at in a while...but they will not be the last (if the Lord allows), not by a longshot. I get this unbelievable opportunity to sing to folks whose hearts have been tenderized by great loss. I cannot even express how much that means to me. I don't know why I get this special privilege. I am thankful, though. I am so thankful to the Lord for it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Grilled Pizza?

In the past we have tried grilling pizza with limited success. Tonight's creation was the best we've had. The recipe we used for the dough was stiffer than the ones we have attempted in the past. We have yet to figure out how to get the cheese to fully melt before the bottom of the crust gets too dark. We make individual pizzas for each person, made to order. Trying to grill bigger pieces of dough was just too difficult. What I like about cooking the pizza on the 'barbie' is the crispy crust and the intangible 'grill-ish' flavor. Tonight our toppings were: turkey pepperoni, pineapple tidbits, mushrooms, green pepper, black olive & mozzerella.

Here's how it is done:

  1. Concoct the dough and flatten into portions. (recipe follows)

  2. Heat the grill - we use a gas grill and heated it on the 1/4 power setting.

  3. Take sauce (I use our leftover spaghetti sauce - my mom's recipe), toppings, cheese, dough, & a dish of olive oil out to the grill.

  4. You'll need a long basting brush to apply the oil to the grill and to one side of the dough. You'll also need one or two long-handled spatulas for turning the dough.

  5. 'Baste' grill w/olive oil.

  6. Place first piece of dough on grill and brush dough lightly w/oil.

  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes w/lid down.

  8. Flip dough & add as quickly as possible the sauce (1-2 T.), toppings & cheese. Don't get too heavy on the toppings or they won't get warm.

  9. Close lid and grill another 3 minutes or so....check the underside of the dough to prevent burning. Reminder: the cheese may not be completely melted before the underside of your dough is getting dark!

  10. Enjoy with your favorite beverage!


Grilled Pizza Dough ( )

  • 5 c. all-purpose flour

  • 1 T. sugar

  • 2 t. table salt or 3 1/2 t. kosher salt (I used kosher.)

  • 1 t. yeast

  • 1 1/2 t. olive oil

  • 1 3/4 c. warm water

I combined all ingredients in my kitchenaid stand mixer. (You can do this by hand too.) Mix 'till combined with mixer beater. Change to dough hook and knead in mixer for 4 minutes. Let dough rest 15 minutes. Knead w/dough hook 4 more minutes. Divide into 6-10 portions. (For instructions on storing this dough in the freezer, go the the website above.) Flatten by hand or with rolling pin in to individual portions. Separate w/waxed paper. (Do not stack them more than 4-5 high or the bottom ones will adhere to the waxed paper and not look as pretty when you grill them!)

Trusting the Character of the Lord

We were shocked to learn of the passing of our friend, Larry Cameron this last weekend. He died in a traffic accident in rural Oklahoma as he was making his way from his home in the little Texas town of Sulphur Springs to his 30th class reunion at Burke High School here in Omaha. From what I understand, the accident was such that he most likely never knew what hit him....reminds me of 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 which tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I picture Larry on his Harley, waiting in line at the toll booth outside of Antlers, Oklahoma, listening to some tunes on his iPod one minute and then the next minute talking to the Lord and saying, "How did I get here?" Larry leaves behind four heartbroken children a bunch of grandchildren, his long-time sweetheart, Cindi, and a large extended family as well as many devoted friends. He was 47 years old.

When I think of our family's encounters with Larry, I am amazed at and grateful for the Lord's obvious prescence in him....Larry knew how to care for people: the ones he was close to and the ones he met along the way. He was kind and thoughtful. He had an innate way of making you feel comfortable. Adults and kids alike were drawn to him.
I remember being at Diane and Jeff's once a couple of years ago...I answered the phone and it was Larry, calling from Texas to talk to Jeff. I think we chatted for 15 minutes about how he cared so much for his kids and about parenting. He was always friendly and always had time to show it.

As I process Larry's passing it is easy to feel overwhelmed. I cannot help but ask 'Why, Lord?". A man whose life has SUCH an impact for the Kingdom should not be cut short, should it? Then I recall this verse, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (Jn. 12:24 NIV) and I think about Larry's brother, Ron, speaking at his class reunion last Saturday night, telling his classmates what Larry would want to say if he could speak from heaven...That so many would hear God's word that never returns void...WOW.

Another thought: how do I grieve and not sin? I am so tempted to be angry at the driver who hit him...but then I realize that I do not know that driver's situation. He was an older man. Perhaps he had a sudden health issue that caused the accident...I do not know.

Why does the Lord allow crazy stuff like this? I guess we will never fully understand here on earth. These are the times where I have to hold on with both hands to Who I know He is...I have to trust His Character and obey His commands to be thankful for all things (Eph. 5:20) and thankful in all things (I Thes. 5:18). This helps me to recall that He holds me, my family and my friends in His Everlasting Arms (Deut. 33:27) and that He will never leave or forsake us. (Josh. 1:5)
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Saturday, August 2, 2008


School starts on the 13th for us this year (yes, the 13th of August). Seems like we are starting earlier and earlier. I am feeling that end-of-summer-urgency to have fun with our kids! Since we do not have piles of cash lying around, we are trying to think of jolly things to do together close to home!

We had a day of tie-dying last week. MAN, did we have fun. We bought a couple of white shirts and bandanas from Walmart, some dye and rubber bands from Hobby Lobby. The night before we dyed, I looked for diy instructions on youtube. I found LOTS of helpful videos and some interesting history. We used our rubber bands to 'tie' our shirts We boiled water (incidentally, we did this on one of the hottest days. Next time we tie-dye, which we hope will be soon, we will wait for a cool fall or winter day!), added the dye. We had three colors: pink, red, blue. We dyed for a few hours. It was a BLAST. We dyed old nasty night shirts, socks, towels, even undies! We were scouring the house for whites to dye. My mom dyed a red shirt on which she had accidentally spilled bleach...she dyed it blue and it turned out so cool. We learned how to make a plaid pattern. We learned how to make circles within circles. We even figured out how to make hearts. We WILL be dying again soon. (Our camera is near death, so I cannot post any of our own pics right now...)

Our other project that we did today and also a couple of days ago: homemade silly putty and homemade flubbery blubber. Here are the recipes:



3 T. white glue

4 T. liquid starch

food coloring (optional) (red will stain your hands!)

Mix together and then knead and knead and knead. Store in an airtight container.


Stir in bowl #1:

  • 2 T. warm water

  • 3 t. white glue

  • food coloring (optional)

Mix in bowl #2:

  • 2 T. warm water

  • scant 1/2 t. Borax (found in the laundry section @ the grocery)

Add Bowl #1's contents to Bowl #2. Mix until solution becomes rubbery and forms a ball. Knead until smooth. Drain any excess water. Store in airtight container.


These are similar, but the blubber is more stiff...we think the Silly Putty is more fun! Now I am on the hunt for more out-of-the-ordinary, inexpensive projects for this next week!