Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'll be on my way

Hello friends,
I will be out of pocket for over a week & will resume bloggy posts a week from Monday.

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." I Peter 5: 10-11


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An Uncle, A Flood & Other May/June Highlights

May 1 & 2: Flooding of Historic Proportions

May 4: Dance Recital

May 7: Visit with Friend from Croatia

May 9: Mother's Day with home-made cards & breakfast in bed

In honor of An Uncle: May 16th
(our lives interrupted from May 13-June 2nd)

My husband trekked to & from Minnesota solo with four children for the funeral & visitation of our brother-in-law/uncle. Inspired by the photo boards at the visitation, Assistant Mom suggested imitating the pose of a photo of their uncle with Babe the Big Blue Ox of Paul Bunyan fame.

June 13: Piano Acquisition

Culmination of a Great Baseball Season (late February-mid June):
Sportsmanship & All-star Awards June 19 Award Ceremony

Friends who came to visit. June 19-20

Everyday drama & fun that happens at our house.

Jaeger Cousin Lollapalooza: June 24-30
7 great kids + 6 over-90-degree Tennessee days =
memories of a lifetime

Good readers make good story-tellers



Monday, July 12, 2010

Change really DOES happen

It is me -- the one who used to flop on the couch after work & think..."oh, what we will have for dinner?" and fall asleep. My new (at the time) husband would come home from work and find me there. Every day. "Do you take a nap every day?" We would deliberate about what to eat for dinner. There's nothing in the cupboard to make & it would take too long. After a l o o o n g time, we would often drive off to get something to eat.

Now, look, I make menu plans and actually assign what we'll eat to SPECIFIC days, such as Tacos on Tuesday. Yes, me? Can you believe it? Yes, I Miss-creative-non-domesticated-this is TOO-HARD-for-me-I-would-rather-nap-on-the-couch-Woman -- have been writing down a weekly meal plan for over a year now.... and I LOVE it ?!? And the weeks I don't have a plan. I miss my plan. It is CRAZY actually.

But it gives me hope. Hope that I can keep on changing in other areas, too.

Over the course of years (I have been married 17 years now, you know), I moved from no plan at all. To going grocery shopping every other week. To following the detailed once-a-month cookbook plan. To having on-hand ingredients to make specific meals (and still retaining that freedom, oh that delicious freedom, of deciding each day WHAT I would feel like eating because, come on now, I mean, how could I possibly know in advance that I would want Tacos on Tuesday and not Porkchop Romance? Ridiculous! I needed food freedom.) To... finally.... making a Weekly Meal Plan.

How did this free-flowing mama get from not wanting to assign food to a particular day to feeling giddy about the return of my Weekly Meal Plan?

What happened? (I mean, besides the embracing of life's duties as not-so-bad, gaining skills, and growing up into the responsible human being my parents trained me to be? addition to all that...) I read this:

"In many ways, a schedule can relieve stress from your life. When tasks become routine, they require much less physical and emotional energy. A normal day is easier to get through without having to make numerous draining decisions"...from The Managers of Their Homes by Steven and Teri Maxwell

And so it began: The beginning of The Weekly Menu Plan in an effort for less draining decisions in my day. (Click on the Grocery Cart Challenge for more inspiration. I use her menu plan template.) At first, I had to MAKE myself follow my own decisions. (Silly but true.) That first week, we ate dinner late a lot of nights (which isn't terribly unusual for us but it was still later than normal). But I stuck with it for several months. No grocery shopping until I had made The Plan.

And you know what I found? That the Food Freedom that I tenaciously clung to was NOT worth the Free Brain Space. It's rather remarkable how much time was taken up thinking: "What's for dinner? What will the children not complain about? What is in the cupboard? What would I like to have? What would hubby like? Do I have all the ingredients? Do I have enough time to make that?"

Now I have more space in my brain to make decisions about other equally important all-consuming things. . . like. . . what are we going to do today?

Those pesky little --- I mean BIG -- feelings just need to be ignored sometimes and duty embraced. And I will gain skill. And I will little baby step at a time...over the course of many years. Change really DOES happen sometimes so there is hope for those other bad habits!

Oh, and for the curious, here is my After A Long Hiatus ((because I was in Minnesota for 3 weeks in May and hauling a piano to our house (which is now updated with a photo), among other things lately) Weekly Menu Plan:

Monday: Broccoli pasta (originally found through the Grocery Cart Challenge website)

Tuesday: Sausage & wild rice casserole (my own original recipe inspired from MN-made ingredients)

Wednesday: Grilled cheese sandwiches & Parmesan garlic broccoli, carrots & cauliflower bake

Thursday: Cold tuna pasta & bread (church has been giving away lots of yummy bread)

Friday: Pancakes & eggs (I'm off to dinner with some friends that night & this is a great meal for hubby & kids to make.)

Really, that wasn't so hard, was it? Sigh. So perhaps the other things won't be so hard, either!

Are there long-term changes you have seen in your life?


Friday, July 9, 2010

Lions, Mountaintops, and Rescued Faith

Chronicles of Narnia

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver, "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King; I tell you." from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis has been a favorite author of mine for a long-time. In college, his book Mere Christianity rescued my faith from a Philosophy of Religion class in a way that my friends and that my memorized Bible verses couldn't do. But, what put Lewis in extra high regard for me was the year that I read the Chronicles of Narnia out loud to my children the first time. It was my first year of homeschooling; I had a 6, 5 and 3 year old. In order to accommodate their different reading levels, I was reading separate books to each of them: Johnny Tremain and Heidi to the oldest, Cricket in Times Square to the next and picture books to the youngest (at the time). I would fall asleep reading. (My excuse then? I was pregnant. (No such excuse today but, I digress.))

And then, I pulled out The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and began to read. The three of them were spellbound. And so was I. And Lewis rose further in my esteem than he had been before. I didn't know that this was possible! I was staying awake, looking forward to reading aloud, was rescued from reading three different stories at a time, and given insight to mull over as I went about my day. Can you ask for more than that? (As an aside: I will say, though, that the three year old was engaged in the first book but didn't hang through the whole series until she was a little older.)

I'm looking forward to re-reading my top three favorites: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. I will probably re-read the whole series; it just may or may not happen in July as part of this challenge.

The quote about not safe but good reminds me of the character of God (and also this post over HERE). I even used it as an analogy at Bible study when we were working through the fear of the Lord and what that is to look like. This image of the Beavers talking about Aslan came quickly to mind. Word pictures works so well.

And another favorite concept is from The Silver Chair.

"And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the Mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart. And pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters. " from the Silver Chair

Sometimes it seems so clear the directions from the Lord -- in a quiet time or at church. And then when I go to work it out in my daily life, it looks a lot different. Then, I am reminded of this things are muddier down here idea from Narnia and I am encouraged.

I'll be sharing some more insights as I go. Hope it encourages you to join us in the challenge.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Us Box is Now Seventeen

Seventeen years married (or twenty-one knowing each other) sounds like a long time, but seems like a short time to be married to my best friend (got that great quote from someone I admire!) I love the smile and smirk captured on this photo. We have so much fun together. I can't imagine life without you.

October 2009

Christmas 2009

You introduced me to the magic of hats many years ago and they, too, have become an integral part of us. This shot reminds me of the MANY self-portrait shots we used to take. ("We like us and still do!) This one was actually taken by the First Born.

December 2009
One of two times my hair has ever been straightened. You looked at me the way I looked at you the first time you cut your hair -- SHOCKED!

November 2009

Twenty-three years ago, a mutual friend introduced us in college. (Don't I mean preschool? Certainly we're not this old!) Then a couple of years later we got to know each other: Resident Assistants on the same staff and a film class together. After a long walk to the Fryin' Pan for caramel rolls and a Jaeger family houseboat ride, "things" were never the same. After graduation, you went to Tennessee, I to Michigan. A year later, I followed you. Another year later, we were married.

Then the fun really began: doing errands together -- laundromat, groceries, hardware -- and hanging out together alone and with friends -- music team, community groups, sand volleyball, road trips. After five years of "just us," along came baby number One and before we'd fully adjusted to being parents baby number Two was here and not long after, number THREE was too. A few years later we added number Four. And now we've been married longer with kids than without.

And through it all we've maintained the Us Box. You're my best friend, my confidant, my husband.

Especially in light of my sister's loss a few weeks ago, I'm especially grateful for the amount of years we've had together.

With love & gratitude,
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