Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Home Church, Pt.2

It's official.  I like Home Church.  I like it better than I ever thought possible.

When I was pregnant with Middle One, we visited with a family that home churched with several other families.  It seemed so... weird to me.  How could you church at home?  How could you not have an organist or a congregation or potlucks?  How could you not have a dozen committees wanting your time?

The answer is: rather easily.

I think I love this.

Here's what we do:

Right after breakfast, while I'm cleaning the kitchen, Darling sits down at the piano in the living room and starts playing from the hymnal.  The kids are playing or doing whatever around the house, but they can hear the music.  Darling usually plays a couple songs he likes, but also works in the traditional doxology for me.  He also, God bless that man, plays my favorite song.  I cannot sing this song without crying and someday, when I die, I want it sung at my funeral.  "Here I Am" gives words and music to what's in my heart.  Here's a You Tube video I found for you.  I chose it because it has the lyrics written out.  Darling plays it a little faster (I prefer it a tad faster than in this video), but it gets the family in the worship mood.

After music, we come together and pray.  Then Darling leads us in a reading from one of the kids' Bibles we found on our date night.  We watch the video for the lesson we're learning, then we sing the songs after the video teaching.  It's kind of neat.  I like that it's concise without dumbing down the Bible stories.

What I enjoy the most about home churching is that we have started pulling a Scripture from the lesson to learn and discuss for the week.  We write it on a dry erase board we have in the kitchen and every night at dinner, we make a point of reading and discussing it.  I don't know that the kids are actually memorizing it.  I also don't know that the kids are even thinking deeply about it.

What I do know is that for the first time, we're focusing on Scripture in our home.  Even if the kids aren't remembering the verses verbatim, we are laying the tracks in their hearts.

I wasn't sure how we'd settle into home church.  Some Sundays are better than others.  But, on the whole, right now, it's working.  We may head back to church some day, but that day isn't in the immediate future.

~ G

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Information Crisis

I had an interesting conversation with a veteran yesterday.  He was studying to finish his Bachelor's.  After high school, he joined the Army and subsequently spent a year in Iraq.  Now he's finishing his degree because he's found many (most) employers seem to think vets are unstable and not a good risk for the company.  He said he's found only a few companies who value military service, but most think vets are riddled with mental problems, PTSS, various worrisome disabilities, and cause more problems than they're worth.

This is a far cry from when my dad returned home from the service 40+ years ago.  At the time, employers considered military experience to mean a candidate had discipline, determination, honor, and respect.  The vet was generally preferred over non-military candidates.  What happened?  Is this man's experience unique to him or is it characteristic of what's happening across the board?  If it is happening across the board, then why?

Is the issue that statistically so few employers actually have military experience and therefore have no concept of what it takes to earn an "honorable discharge" at the end of their contract?  Is it that the media has made the military seem like a hotbed of discontents and miscreants, a la Abu Ghraib?  Is it that the media has carefully created a scenario that makes it appear as if every prisoner at Gitmo was waterboarded, as opposed to three top-level operatives?  Is it that many employers buy into the notion that all military personnel are loose-cannons with a bent toward torture?  Are they envisioning walking by the water cooler only to find new employee Jones waterboarding the guy who took his stapler?  Why and how have vets become less desirable to employers?

As we discussed this, he said he was conservative, but not ultra-conservative like the Tea Party Patriots.  Ha!  I informed him that I was a Tea Party Patriot and that again, like the military, the Tea Party Patriots have been maligned by the press.  I sweetly (really, I was very calm and gentle) explained that Tea Party Patriots are probably the calmest, more thoughtful, well-informed people out there.  Ask any one of us about details of Congress, bills before Congress, how the government works and what the Constitution says and we'll probably get most of the answers correct.

It didn't occur to me to tell him that most of us are more "libertarian" than "conservative."  But, I'm a writer, not a litigator.  I don't think well on my feet.  Give me some paper and pen or a good word processor and I'll craft an awesome decent argument.  In person, not so much.  Anyway, it was rather shocking to hear a conservative guy declare Tea Party Patriots are far-right.

I guess the over-arching lesson here is that you can not trust what you get from the news.  It is vital to search multiple news sources, understand who is behind the source, and then think for yourself.  If a conservative vet who can't find a job because employers think all vets are a bad risk is under the impression Tea Party Patriots are ultra-conservative and have a few screws loose, we are indeed in an information crisis in our country.

~ G

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Excellent New Take on Chicken

I'm rediscovering my Crock Pot.  I bought it in college to make black beans - lots and lots and lots of black beans.  Along the way, I've learned some tricks to make the best black beans ever.  Alas, my children seem to consider beans of any sort to be little pellets of terror.  Kids.  What do they know?

The other day I was working in the library and took a break to wander through the stacks.  That's a dangerous thing, you know, wandering through the stacks.  By the time I returned to my desk to keep writing (part-time job, you know), I had amassed quite a pile of books.  Among them was this little gem:  

It's the book form of the best recipes from the blog A Year of Slow Cooking.  Now, I'm not a blog hopper.  I'm a Twitter hopper, but not really a blog hopper.  I have friends who love Stephanie O'Dea's blog, but I'd never been there.  See?  I told you I wasn't a blog hopper.  I am, however, a stack wanderer and found the book in the library.  

Flipping through I found "Brown Sugar Chicken."  My first thought was "how could anyone do something so terrible to a piece of chicken as to cover it in brown sugar and cook it for hours?"  It seems Ms. O'Dea's children loved the chicken, so I decided to get over my judgmental self and try it.  After all, I had chicken breasts in the fridge threatening to meet the garbage - and waste is not an option!

Oh. My. Drooling. Goodness.  "Brown Sugar Chicken" is wonderful!  It doesn't taste overly sweet at all.  As it cooks, the intoxicating aroma of roasting garlic wafts through the house.  Something magical and almost mellow-spicy Asian happens with the brown sugar, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and lemon-lime soda.  Darling suggested adding some peppers and ginger to it, substitute rice noodles for the rice and it would almost taste Thai.  Yum Yum.  That man is brilliant.

The bonus?  My meat-lover Middle One loved it.  He enjoyed it with and without the sauce.  Little One thought it was yummy and Big Kid... well, Big Kid doesn't eat much real people food and turned up his nose.  Sigh.  Oh well, Rome wasn't built in a day.  Or a balanced palate wasn't developed in a day or a year.

The verdict?  This recipe, probably with the aforementioned tweaks, will make it into the family recipe box.  Tasty, easy, and the chicken breasts weren't wasted.  Sorry for the lack of pictures.  By the time I thought to take a picture, the dishes were in the washer.

~ G

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sometimes I'm a Genius

I have a daughter. She is three. She has hair.  Yes, I know you're shocked.  My daughter does not like having her hair washed.  A couple weeks ago she was taking a bath (I was with her, monitoring, per this commitment) and I just dreaded the coming screaming/flailing/pouting/crying/I-don't-want-my-hair-washed event.  Hey, I'm a mom, not superwoman.  Although, you should see me in my skivvies and invisible plane.

She was playing with her rubber ducky and it dawned on me.  What if she washed Ducky's flat, bald, little rubber head hair while I washed her hair?  She could hold him in her lap and while her head was bowed over, focused on washing Ducky, I could wash and condition her hair.  I proposed the idea and she bought into it, lock, stock and rubber ducky.  Yippee!  I'm a genius!  But, before we toast a non-sippy-cupped adult beverage, the real question with a toddler-cum-preschooler is will the genius idea stick?

Yes.  This one did.  Tonight, I sat in the hall reading my free OK magazine brain candy and monitored her bath.  From that position in the hall, I can see her in the tub and hear the boys and also yell at the boys from a acoustically-friendly position.  Near the end of the bath, she ASKED me to wash her hair.  She collected Ducky, asked for shampoo and within a few minutes of non-screaming/flailing, my sweet Little One smelled sweet.

Sometimes I'm a genius.  Now, I'm going to savor the moment until I foul up again.  Sometimes I'm a genius.  The end.

~ G

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Home Church

We've been home-churching for several months now.  At first it was a reaction to never seeming to be able to make it to church.  If we didn't have out-of-town guests, we had a sick kid.  If we didn't have a sick kid, we had some other reason we couldn't go.  Finally, instead of surrendering and not getting any churching into our kids, we opted to home church.

The initial decision was kind of a knee-jerk thing.  Someone, maybe me, pitched an unholy fit about the kids not getting the Bible stories they need to "train them up" in the way they should go.  Darling grabbed a Veggie Tales off the shelf, popped it in the DVD player and we had church.  We watched the video, talked, prayed, and home church was over.

I kind of liked it.  I kind of liked that I knew exactly what the kids had learned in church and I liked that we had the same lesson to discuss all week.

A few weeks ago, though, Veggie Tales became too animated for us.  Big Kid and Middle One know all these videos by heart, so using them as church material wasn't exactly keeping them attentive.  So, on date night, Darling and I stopped at the Christian book store and selected a couple books to help us.

So far, so good.

~ G

Monday, September 13, 2010

Do As I Say, Part I

The Right Network has launched and if their offerings look like this, than I'm in.

Aside from some astute observations, my favorite line is, "If you're a fan of headless birds, than this place is a Godsend."  hehehehe

~ G

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ewwww... That Can't Possibly Still Be On My Cup!

Wake up.  Let out the dog to do her business.  Who's idea was it to get this beast, anyhow?  Mine.  Drat.  Stumble into the kitchen.  Reach into the dishwasher.  Grab my coffee mug and its lid.  Pour in an inch or so of milk.  Squeeze in a couple second's worth of chocolate syrup.  Stir.  I now like my own coffee more than I like Starbuck's.  Their's always tastes burned to me. Me, the chick who doesn't like coffee, now requires coffee to stave off a ripping, pounding, skull-vise of a headache  Oh, and it tastes good.  And it helps my eyes stay open.  Top off the mug with some cinnamon coffee.  Stir. Turn the lid to seal.  Lift to take a first, eye-flickering sip and ...EWWWWWWWWW... my lip gloss from yesterday is still on the lid!  Ewwwww... that can't possibly still be on my cup!  

It's not even lipstick.  This is lip gloss.  Gloss.  Gloss - as in, "I-don't-want-any-color-on-my-lips-too- permanently-because-I-don't-like-how-it-looks-so-I-go-with-the-wimpy-lip-gloss" lip gloss.  Lip gloss. Still on my cup after going through an entire washing cycle. Lip. Gloss. Snort.

Thus concludes my experiment with dishwasher detergents.  I grew up with Cascade powder, but those days ended after I tried dishwasher tabs.  Last night's freebie sample of Cascade Extra Action failed me for the last time.  I'm done.  From now on it's Finish Powerball Tabs because I can put anything - anything - in my dishwasher and the dishes come out clean.  $12 for 90 tabs might seem a little steep, but when it saves me money on rewashing lip gloss mugs, it is worth it.  I'm just sayin.'

...If anyone from Finish is reading, I sure would appreciate some samples.  Or coupons.  Or a case of Finish.  Heck, I'll wear a t-shirt for ya for free detergent.  

~ G

Lip gloss I say.  ewwwwwww


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