Our Thanksgiving Tradition

The Saturday before Thanksgiving Day my side of the family gathers at our house to celebrate the holiday. We’ve been doing this for about thirteen years, so you could say it’s been a tradition for a while now.

As newlyweds often do, they find themselves in a predicament around the holidays. Most of them end up splitting the holiday celebrations between in-laws. “This year we’re going to his parents’ for Thanksgiving… My parents get Christmas…” This was SO hard on me. I hated missing out spending time with all of my family.

Holidays were such a HUGE event for me when I was growing up. You wouldn’t know by looking at me but I come from (and was raised in) a Hispanic family. My mom has five siblings, two brothers and three other sisters. In all I have 21 cousins. We now have our own families so the number skyrockets from there.

We used to gather at Aunt Dolores’ house, and it wasn’t a big house, for the holidays. I remember wall to wall family members and tons of cousins running in and out of the house. I remember the joy of all the noise and the crowd and all the fun and food we had. Thinking about it now it’s like a spring has uncoiled itself in my chest and I have a smile I cannot erase from my face.

Now, not every holiday has been that way since we’ve grown, but I was missing this gathering when I got married. I didn’t want to compromise. I didn’t have to, did I?

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The “M” Word

SO!  You’re probably wondering what the “M” word is, right?  Maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re thinking it’s “Marriage” or “Money” but it’s not.

Menopause

CD 80

Now, some hard core, wanna get pregnant OR don’t wanna get pregnant women will know what that means.  And, by the way, I am NOT pregnant.  CD80 = Cycle Day 80.

It has been 80 glorious days I have NOT had my (I apologize guys) period.

Perhaps this is where men tune out.

I get the distinct impression women just don’t talk about menopause at least not someone other than their doctors.  Is Menopause the “elephant in the room” women only talk about in hushed, embarrassed tones?  Should I be embarrassed to be writing about the fact that I AM GOING THROUGH IT?

Okay, so maybe it’s not full fledge menopause. I might be labeled as “peri-menopausal,” like a ten year old wants to be called a “pre-teen” but they still pout like a toddler demanding, as they shake their fist, to be recognized as an almost teenager.  Hmm … chasing rabbits there.

Any way, I am “premature” for menopause but I say I’m an over achiever. Let’s get this party started!!!

Pffft -peri menopausal, please!  It’s that stage in a woman’s life when you skip your period and think God is playing a cruel joke on you.  It’s a joke because the “baby” of your family is 8 years old and you told everyone (including the husband) you were done.

I swear, when PM first reared her head I was quick to bargain with God, pleading NOT to be pregnant.  Then I resorted to threatening Him that I would need to be institutionalized if He did this to me. You just don’t want to go there, Lord.

I had gone 52 terrifying days without a period.  I told myself it was PM but then doubt creeped in and I started to worry. No! No, I wasn’t going to take a test. It was ridiculous to think I would or could be pregnant this late in life.

I called my OB/GYN and the nurse asked if I took a test. I was flabbergasted.  “No. Something else is wrong.” Besides I would need to be in the presence of a professional should I be wrong. No, I’d rather wait for the horrible news. Yes, I said horrible. I. was. done. Need I remind you? DONE. Continue reading

A Walk Through My Garden

If you didn’t know by now, we are an Urban Homesteading kinda family.  We have turned our front yard space into an edible garden.  My husband had to sell me on this and my only criteria was … it had to look beautiful from the street.  I had imagined multiple straight rows of vegetables planted directly in the ground.  It was NOT appealing to me in the least.

I love spring.  Our garden is coming to life and it’s so exciting to see what each new day brings.  The weather has been erratic to say the least. One day is Summer like weather and then the very next day Winter winds sweep in and we’re covering young plants at 10pm before a freeze sets in.

So, together, my husband and I came up with a plan that included no straight rows, flowers mixed with vegetables, garden art and modern idustrial-like material for fencing. I’ve posted once before when we first put the beds in so this is an update for Spring 2014.  I hope you enjoy a short walk through.  If you have any questions please ask away.  I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.

In my humble opinion, gardening cannot be mastered. It is a continual learning process.  What works one season might not work next.  What flourishes one season flops miserably the next season.  Quite frustrating (Yeah, I’m talking to you Mr. Green Beans 2013!).  We have been successful with cucumbers but yellow squash … BIG FAT F.  Just a side note –  We’ve been organic gardening for at least fourteen years.

Thanks!

 

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Here’s a list of what’s growing:  Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, Brussels Sprouts, cucumbers, red cabbage, white cabbage, white onions, red onions, flying saucer squash, watermelons, bell peppers, patty pan squash, Kale,… Just finished with spinach and broccoli.  Going to plant green beans and more cucumbers.

When You Give a Kid a Party

When You Give a Kid a Party

When You Give a Kid a Party

I blame the white butterfly birthday cake my Mom made me for my ninth birthday.  It was decorated with colored orange coconut and bright candies.  That was the cake that inspired me to learn how to decorate cakes and inspired me to throw parties my boys would remember when they got older.

My youngest son, Carsen, recently turned seven.  (sigh)  He’s getting taller.  His legs are longer, his torso stretching…   I judge their growth by the laundry going in the wash.  Surely my boys don’t wear these jeans, the same jeans that inch their way higher.

Carsen, my Carsen, is bright and creative and sees his world through drawings and colors on paper.  He is different than his brother in his own glorious way.  My what a task it is to be entrusted with these boys!

This year CJ wanted a Minecraft Birthday. Yes, that god-forsaken game just about EVERY child is playing.  I had refused to learn the lingo — to remain detached from this one fad but alas our conversations inevitably turned to the game and the exciting adventures of Steve.  I knew I was done for when I started asking them for explanations and it only seemed fitting to do so because I was in charge of creating a Minecraft party.

Planning their birthday parties is my favorite thing to do. Enter Pinterest! BEFORE I wrote down a Guest List you can bet I scoured and pinned everything I could find on Minecraft parties and menus and decoration.  My “Party Ideas,” board was brimming with eye candy. Continue reading

Changes for 2014

So, I wanted to come up with something fresh, a recap of 2013 for this post but I’ve got nothing.  Maybe if I keep writing something will come.  I won’t make a laundry list of resolutions I have no intention of keeping.  I’m the kind of girl who says, “Don’t fence me in,” even to myself.

It’s usually this time of year that I start thinking about organization, cleaning out the junk and downsizing things.  I think about budgets and lists and meal planning and school planning.  I think about Spring gardening, painting walls and exercising.  I have medical goals (not resolutions) to see a dentist and keep 6 months appointments, find a GP and develop a relationship with him or her… maybe a her since I’m gracing the threshold of menopause.

I’m teetering on weight issues and menopause and trying to find a reasonable balance of what’s acceptable and not an excuse.   Continue reading

How was Your Day?

I woke up Tuesday morning, made coffee and when I went to pour a cup the cup already had coffee in it.  I had found the last place I set my coffee cup down, from the day before.

Yesterday, my neighbor and I, and all four kids, went to Sonic for drinks after biking in the park.  The heat was rising off the asphalt parking lot in ghostly ripples but thank God for the shaded picnic table and a good breeze!  It was only 95 degrees.

Came home from Sonic only to discover someone had jumped my curb, obliterated our mailboxes, my side fence, my neighbor’s adirondack chair and ornamental lawn art.  Her Mexican, stone water well was in pieces, strewn across her lawn and her neighbors drive way.  No car in sight.  No note.

We filed a report with the local police, who ventured a guess it was someone texting.  Said neighbor and I sent the kids in while we cleaned up the mess under the relentless sun.  We were thankful we weren’t home and thankful the kids were not in the front yard playing.  It could have been tragic.

By the time I got out of the shower my neighbor was knocking on my door.  The woman who damaged our property had returned.  She was an older woman, painfully walking with a cane with obvious health issues.  She explained she had just come from the doctor when her leg cramped up and she hit the accelerator.  She couldn’t get her leg off the pedal.  She came back because she felt horrible and couldn’t live with herself.  My faith in humanity is restored.

We had decided to let insurance handle it but having talked it over with my husband we’ve decided to take care of it ourselves.

Case closed.

BUT WAIT!  There’s more. Continue reading

What if…

What if we’re already there?

What if I close my eyes here on earth and the next time I open them I’m in heaven and you’re there and our forever begins?

What if there’s no waiting for you to join me or I join you and we’re already there enjoying eternity with Him?

Revelation 20 talks about the White Throne judgement and John sees the dead, great and small, standing there as the Book of Life and the Book of Judgement are opened and I think… that’s me.  I’m in that crowd.

I’m already there.

 

 

(Just a thought)

How Great is Our God – Chris Tomlin and Friends – YouTube

How Great is Our God – Chris Tomlin and Friends – YouTube.

 

 

How awesome will that day be when every tongue of every tribe and every nation gathers together, in His presence, and sings the same praises to our King?!!!

I don’t know about you but this song seizes my throat and my heart soars and I can’t help but smile till it hurts when I hear the different languages singing the same song to MY God, our God.

What a glorious sound that must be to God!  It’s like that time when your child and his classmates are called before the church to sing a song of praise to God.  You couldn’t slap that smile off your face it you tried.  You smile so wide and your eyes well up with tears and your heart swells with pride because there’s YOUR child singing to YOUR God and telling Him how great he is.  It’s a proud moment to say the least.

“Look God, my child loves You like I love you!”  THAT’s exciting stuff.  Now imagine God, looking at this sea of faces, His children, together in unity, singing of their love for Him.  How can the universe contain that sound and that joy and not explode?

To hear this song, How Great is Our God, makes me feel that way.  It’s got to be an infinity times more for God.

Sing His praises!  Get carried away.  He loves it.

 

 

“Iscariot,” by Tosca Lee – A book Review

I haven’t used this blog for book reviews but I could NOT pass the opportunity to do so after having read “Iscariot,” by Tosca Lee.

This is a book I was hesitant to read but I am so glad I did.

First, I say first as if there will be a second but there really isn’t, I admire Lee’s extensive research that went in to writing this novel.  I love to read historical fiction.  So, her time dedicated to getting details right is impressive.  I think I read she spent about 3 years but I could be wrong.  I simply don’t recall at the moment.

I can also appreciate it when she said she ran away from writing this book but I’m glad she did. I felt the same way about reading it. Some old, stodgy, paranoid Christian in me said I shouldn’t entertain such thoughts that Judas just might be in heaven or that he could be forgiven. I grew up believing Judas was in hell for selling out Jesus but…

I am Judas.

My sin killed Jesus. I put Him on the cross just as much as Judas did. Continue reading

The Ultimate Display of Love

Today is Easter, a day that believers celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Not only did our Savior die on the cross but he overcame death and rose to life on the third day.  There is hope for all people that death is not the end of this life but a greater one still awaits.

It is an eternal life with no more tears, no more death or disease. God doesn’t force this hope on you.  It is a free gift offered to everyone, even those that hate Him.

I tried to explain to my boys that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came to earth as a human, took the blame for all our wrong doing that we would ever do in our lifetime and paid the price by dying on the cross just so we could be with Him in heaven.

Sure, it was a lot to understand.  The best way to condense the message was by example.  One day, my oldest son did something that warranted a “time out,” which meant standing in the horrible corner with his face to the wall for a few minutes.  Torturous for a then four year old. Continue reading