Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Almost an Hour Late!

I posted earlier about the ladies' retreat that I was able to attend a few weeks ago.  This was the retreat where I was reminded to keep a "gratitude attitude". I and another lady from my church rode separately in her car because I wasn't able to get off work in time to leave with the church ladies in the van. 

First off, my husband calls about the time I had planned to be leaving.  "What time was I supposed to be home?" he asks.  "I was hoping to be gone in a few minutes, honey." I replied.  He still needed to leave work, drive home and turn around to take me to meet my friend.  That set us back half an hour, but I wasn't upset (too much.)

We met, loaded the suitcase, and got on the road.  Almost halfway there, I couldn't take it anymore.  This body that has birthed four children cannot travel very far without a potty break! (I use this as my excuse even though I've been this way since I was a child.)  Thankfully, my friend was extremely understanding, and we stopped for a quick break.  In fact, she needed a candy fix and, since there were no price tags on anything, had a tough time making a decision.  That set us back another 15 minutes or so.

About a mile up the road from the gas station where we stopped, traffic was almost at a standstill.  There were cars off to the side of the road, and no apparent reason for it at all.  As we were trying to forge ahead through the slow traffic, I looked out at the fields we were passing....
HAIL--the size of quarters and golf balls.  We'd missed it by about 5 or 10 minutes. Or, by about the time it takes to make a pit stop.  This is God's way of helping me to give thanks in everything! 

Gratitude Attitude

I had the privilege a few weekend's ago of attending a ladies' retreat with my church.  It was at the same church that my Grandma, my Aunt and other members of my family have attended for years.  I wasn't able to get off work early enough to ride with my church ladies, but I got to spend some amazing one-on-one time with a sweet member of our church who drove separately.  I would have to say that it was a wonderful weekend filled with friends and family (although I did miss the husband and kids a little lot!)

There were so many excellent lessons packed into such a short period of time, I really think I could type for weeks and still not do this meeting justice.  Let's just say, I have a year's worth of things on which to meditate and WORK! 

Two specific things were JOY and THANKFULNESS!

Although the main speaker was exceptional and brought to mind many thought-provoking points (not attacking fellow sisters with "friendly" fire, being prepared for the battle, etc.), I was challenged by the testimony of two different ladies from the host church.

We walked in (almost an hour late) just as the first lady, Mrs. Amy Paget spoke about having joy in your life.  "Why would anyone want to be a Christian if you are always glum?"  She was truly the friendliest person I have ever met, and I feel like I've met quite a few.  Such a challenge to consistently exhibit the joy of the Lord in my life no matter what the circumstances.

The next day, a young lady that I have watched for years gave her special testimony. Miss Kacie Johnson talked very candidly about being thankful for the things with which God has so abundantly blessed his children.  Whether we choose to be thankful or not, He HAS blessed us.  It's up to us whether we have the right attitude about it.  The one thing that stuck with me the most was this, "What if God took away everything that you had not thanked Him for today?" 


Am I thankful for the things God has given me?

The red light that made me late (& kept me from being in the 3-car pileup?) The leftover casserole that spilled on the freshly-mopped floor? The extremely slow computer that never loads anything quickly? The children who are constantly being corrected for talking back? The husband who doesn't pick up after himself?

Am I truly thankful for the blessings in my life or just the blessings that come out the way I had planned?

Like I said, lots of good stuff, and so much to work on....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Daddy Duty

That's what my husband has this weekend.  That's right. I'm leaving.  I'm not taking a single child with me, and he gets to take care of everything this weekend. 

First of all, let me say that my husband is a great Daddy!  Our kids adore him and the time they get to spend with him.  His job allows him to be at home with us every single night, and he doesn't often have to work extremely long hours.  Secondly, I don't want anyone to get the impression that I am in charge of our household.  He is definitely in charge! But, let's face it, when it comes to cooking, cleaning, scheduling, etc., I'm the one who takes care of all that. 

With that being said, I have been running around for the past two days almost like a crazy woman like a total maniac trying to get everything done so his weekend will run smoothly.  Laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. are all taken care of so all he has to do is be with the kids. 

After all, a lot can go wrong in 24 hours.  Oh yes, for those of you who were starting to feel sorry for my poor husband left who I'm leaving with my four children, my "weekend away" consists of just a little over 24 hours.  Really.

It's ok.  I'm sure he'll do fine.  After all, he is their Daddy, and he's a good one.  I don't do this often (no blame on anyone else, it's by my own choice.)  So, when I have the chance to get away, I truly appreciate it.  And, my family appreciates me when I come home :)

For those of you who are starting to feel sorry for me, I'm leaving him with four kids--one of whom has a softball tournament smack dab in the middle of the weekend.

I'm sure he'll figure it out...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lazy Italian

Now, before someone gets all offended with me, let me explain.  We have this little restaurant here in Oklahoma City called Zio's.  Not the best restaurant I've ever been too, but it's good.  My husband started taking me there when we were dating.  Oh, the memories!

I found a dish I absolutely loved there.  LOVED.  As in, loved to point that not much would stop me from getting to this dish. 

EXAMPLE:  One night my newlywed husband had gone to the motorcross races with his dad and brother so his mother and I (Yes, we're great friends--that's a whole other story!)decided to go eat something yummy.  We picked Zio's and headed that way.  Unfortunately, while we were headed that way in the right hand lane, a truck in the left hand lane decided to make a hard right turn right into the side of my husband's prized possession--the truck!

The first words out of my mouth, "Kevin's gonna kill me!" Several times. 

After calming down a little, talking with the other driver, and doing paperwork with the policeman; Mom and I got back in the truck.  Amazingly, it was still driveable, and we were still hungry.  So, being less than a mile from the restaurant, off to Zio's we headed again.  The place was busy so we ordered it to go and ate in the truck.  It was still yummy!!

That story should prove the point that I love Artichoke and Spinach Pasta.  I never even thought I could possibly attempt to make it until tonight.  I had chicken, spinach & artichokes--what could go wrong?!  So, I decided to make the version from my kitchen--the lazy way...

First, I sliced the chicken at an angle just like at the restaurant.  Then, I cooked it just until it was done in my favorite skillet.  Zio's grills the chicken, but I have no grilling capabilities without my husband home.

Then, I started on the veggies.  I only had fresh spinach so I steamed it while the chicken was cooking.  (Note to self: Keep a box of frozen spinach on hand for recipes like this.)  Drained it well, and chopped it in my handy-dandy, little-bitty food chopper.  Then, I popped open a can of artichoke hearts, drained them, rinsed them, and chopped them up. 

To the healthy veggies, I added parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.  Kevin says I like everything better with cheese.  (I think he's I'm right.)  A cup of chicken broth and the secret ingredient...


Philly Cooking Creme.  I cheated--no homemade sauce.  Mixed that all together into a very nasty looking soup.  Added my soupy mixture to the chicken and poured it all over some penne pasta.  I topped it with some fresh, diced tomatoes, and Voila! Homemade Artichoke & Spinach Pasta.  Yummy!

Introduce Yourself

Someone who read my first blog post told me that I hadn't really introduced myself (& that it wasn't very good.)  I am choosing to listen to the first part and ignore the second part!  While you can read a little about me in the "About Me" section, if you are really going to get to know me, I had better let you all in on some of the finer points of my life.  I don't really like to post about myself, but I'd really like you all to get to know me so I can get to know you.  Where shall I begin.......?

ME: My name is Sarah, and I'm rapidly approaching 35 years of age (which scares me more than I'd like to admit.)  I love to cook, garden, scrapbook, read, run, and do a whole bunch of other stuff that I never have time to do.  I am a work-at-home mom with an in-home daycare.  I am constantly surrounded by children, and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.  That's when I escape for a few hours to be alone--grocery shopping.  Don't be overwhelmed by the excitement of my life just yet, there's more!

MY FAMILY:  I married a man almost 11 years ago that I never would have picked for me, but he turned out to be the greatest catch EVER! I love him with all my heart, and he is my hero in every way, even though he doesn't have a romantic bone in his body!  We have four wonderful children that are the source of great joy and extreme frustration.  We live next door to my in-laws which could be a very sticky situation, but it turned out to be a wonderful arrangement.  My parents are just a few miles away which seems unbelievably different than how I planned my life to be.  I think it went something like, "I'm moving as far away from here as I possibly can, and I'm going to travel all over the world."  Um, not so much!  Thankfully, we all get along and family holidays, birthdays and outings are literally "one, big, happy family".

MY FOOD:  Because I do have a large family, and my work brings even more mouths into the house, I often find myself in the kitchen.  Some days, it's a blessing; some days, it's a curse. Three meals a day and snacks too!  Since I'm caring for other people's children as well as my own, I feel this added pressure to eat healthy.  I don't always succeed, especially when I'm crunched for time or just plain worn out, but I do try!  I love to share my menus and recipes with any and all who take the time to ask.  I also have friends and family with medical issues (diabetes, Celiac, asthma, etc.) so I try to add a few modified recipes in the mix for when we have guests.  I bake my kids birthday cakes, and absolutely LOVE church potluck dinners!  Guess you could say I'm a jack of all trades (but master of none) when it comes to the kitchen!

MY FAITH:  I don't think any summary of my life would be complete without a mention of my faith.  I am a born-again believer in Jesus Christ.  I am a Baptist by conviction.  I try not to preach my faith to those around me, but I will--especially if someone else starts the conversation.  I try better to live it through my words and actions.  I very often fail at being a good light in my world, and I'm not always the best one to point others to Christ; but I wake up each morning with that goal in mind.  My faith is what sustains me and gives me peace and joy in my heart.  Public debate about what I believe is not what I am after.  If I post something about my faith, it is only to share a part of my life with you.  Arguing is not my intention, and if "discussion" arises, I'd rather it be one-on-one than in a public forum.

That's a more in-depth "about me", although I'd like to share more of my story with you as this blog continues.  Sometimes, my life is a little boring, and sometimes there are stories that are great to share.  I'll try to share them all as I get to know you a little more.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ball time in Oklahoma

I live smack dab in the middle of Oklahoma.  Yes, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!  Here in Oklahoma, we love us some softball! Baseball is good, but if you have daughters, you're going to play some softball.  Tonight, my two oldest have their first games.  Thankfully for Mom & Dad, they are playing in the same town on fields right next to each other.  (I wish it could be that way every time!)

There's just something about sitting at the ballfield, sipping on a Dr. Pepper, snacking on some sunflower seeds, and watching your kids play ball.  There are little ones running around playing tag, digging in the dirt and hiding from their mommas while the adults talk, snap pictures of the players and offer "some friendly advice" to the coaches. 

If you've never experienced it, you should go down to your local ball field this time of year.  Enjoy some of the concession stand fare, cheer for a team and take in the sights and sounds.  It's southern contentment and craziness all rolled into one!  I'll be off now to enjoy the games, but I'll post some pics when I get back.

These are my girls.  (No, the little one isn't playing, but she wants to be just like her big sisters!)

This is my "Bear" playing first base--she did a great job!!

This is our oldest.  Doesn't she look like a home run hitter? She didn't hit one last night, but this season does look promising.
(Notice the man just behind her carefully watching her swing--yep, that's her Daddy, making sure she's doing it right!)