Friday, October 30, 2015

My Two White Hair

I have a white hair; two of them in fact. I've had them for awhile, actually, and I'm kinda proud of them! At this point, they want to hide under all my other hair and no one gets the benefit of seeing them but me. Recently, I was messing with my hair, trying different hairstyles, just for fun, to see if I couldn't show them off somehow. Then, last night when I was getting ready to go away, lo and behold! the one on the left was laying there, all nice and silvery and exposed, so I carefully left it that way. But I don't think anyone noticed the poor little thing. At any rate, they didn't give it the publicity it deserved.

By now you're all wondering if, at worst, I've lost my mind? Or if, at best, this is some kind of a joke?

I'm totally serious. I'm proud of those two little white hairs; I wouldn't pull them out for anything! Come to think of it, I think I can explain why.

As far back as I can remember, my mom had white hair. I can remember when she had some black hair, but I can't remember her having no white hair. My dad, on the other hand, had no white hair for years. As you can imagine, whether joking or serious, they heard lots of comments on that fact. Was he younger than her? Did he do something to his hair? Obviously mom was doing all the work or all the worrying or taking all the responsibility or something!

I remember the big deal daddy would make about every white hair that, finally, showed up on his head. "Don't pull that thing out!" "Don't cover it up!" "Make sure you don't cut that one!" Finally, he would get some credit for his years of labour, now that the white hair were showing up. He was proud of every new one that made it's appearance.

It makes me laugh when I think of it now, but I suppose that has something to do with my view of white hair. I never could understand why people want to pull them out or cover them up or go to the bother of dying them black again. Maybe it's because I always thought my mom's white hair were beautiful or maybe daddy's little jokes really did make me believe finding the first white hair was an experience to be anticipated.

Whatever the case, to me, white hair are a badge of honor to be carried with pride and that's just what I plan to do with the two white ones on my head.....whether anyone else can see them yet or not!

Monday, October 26, 2015

To Make Tortillas

Confession: You know the well is really dry when I start posting recipes.

Last week, when I was making tortillas, I thought it might be fun to take pictures for a "how to" type of post, so I grabbed my phone and snapped away. The results are far less than great quality but when you can't come up with something better to talk about sometimes you just go with it!

I didn't grow up with homemade tortillas but when two of my sisters spent time as missionaries in Belize, we learned the art of making them! The children and I love homemade tortillas; Chris, not so much. So this is usually a meal reserved for times when daddy isn't at home.


2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 T shortening
 3/4 Cup Milk
*I double this for my bunch.

I use my kitchen aid for the job but it works to do it by hand as well. I mix my dry ingredients in my mixer bowl, then add the shortening and mix it in with a fork til it's crumbly. (The inspiration for taking pictures came after this point, so I have no pictures...) Just a note here: I do not measure the shortening with a tablespoon. I take my fork and get a blob for one, and a smaller blob for a half. I am quite sure I use more than 1 1/2 T....

 Next, I dump in the milk. Or, if we're low on milk, I might do half water and half milk. With dough hook attached, I let the mixer do the rest of the work. 

Once you have a nice, soft ball of dough, separate the dough into balls.

Roll them into nice, smooth balls, kind of like you would for dinner rolls.

I like to put mine in a container, cover loosely, and place them in the oven with the oven light turned on. Let them rest for at least 15 minutes or longer. I think the longer they rest, the easier they work out but often I'm in a hurry!

Now it's time to get your pan on the burner and get it good and hot. I like my burner a little hotter than medium.

Now, take a ball and use your fingers to get your circle started.

Then get your rolling pin and make it nice and thin.

Pick your circle up carefully ( with 2 hands, obviously, unless you're taking pictures) and place it in your pan. 

If you want to be really Belizean, flip the tortillas with your bare hand, otherwise use a turner. Fry on both sides, then place inside a towel. Repeat and repeat and repeat.....


If you're really good, you will have your eggs ready to be scrambled when you have about 3 balls left, and your beans will be warming in the microwave...

All set! Get ready to count tortillas and practice your division so everyone gets their fair share....

Enjoy! The children like these with jelly, too. Another favorite is putting cheese between two tortillas as I place them in the pile inside the towel and then cutting them in triangles to eat with soup or for a snack.

I've made these many times, and they still don't always turn out the same, so if they don't work the first time, don't get discouraged; try them again! And you can always blame it on a blogger who's not a cook but tries to blog about food anyway...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A House Takes Shape.

When we go to church everyone seems to want to know, "how our house is coming along" They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I guess this is a 23,000 word post. This is how our house is coming along....................................... 

 A Guest post by: The Builder :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

On Sowing and Joy

I don't remember the first time I was introduced to the idea of loving your enemies or heaping coals of fire or it being more blessed to give than to receive. Those are all concepts that were drilled into my very being at an early age. That doesn't mean, of course, that I always live them out very well. If I had a dollar for every time I've asked one of my children, "Would you like it if they did that to you?" I would be quite a bit richer than if I had a dollar for every time they actually 'did unto others as they wanted others to do unto them'!

Sometimes we know things but the knowledge we have doesn't actually change our lives.

There are those times, though, when we are going along, living life, and we hear something explained and we have this "Aha!" moment where it's like a long row of dominoes that were lined up perfectly topple over into a pile and we say, "Yes! I like it." And suddenly something we've known all our lives comes alive in a new way and it's not just knowledge, but something that might actually change our lives.

I had a moment like that last week when I was reading an email from my dad. He was talking about Joy, and how easy it is to get caught up in the hard things of life and the busy-ness and end up with little time for Joy. Yet, the Joy of the Lord is supposed to be our strength. How do we get it? Just wait and hope that it comes? It's nice when it just shows up but is there some kind of logical sequence for having Joy?

He shared how he's been sending early morning texts to people and how he didn't know if they did anything for the recipients but that they seemed to do something for him! Then he said, " it legitimate for one to get a joy out of a personal contact with people that one does not get in just praying a private prayer for that same person? Could this be part of the reason We are to "love the Lord our God", but also "our neighbor as ourselves"? Loving God does something for ourselves. Am I safe in suggesting that loving others seems to also do something for ourselves if it is in actual tangible acts. Does that make sense? Theoretic love sounds nice but seems to accomplish little in us ..."

That's when I had the "Aha!" moment. I'd had this concept going on in my own life lately and I hadn't really put the pieces together. Several times recently I have tucked notes into Chris' work shirt pockets for him to discover and the fun of it was just astonishing! Didn't even matter if he never said anything about them, just the act of love put a spring in my step. Also, I've been texting a friend every Monday lately and asking what I can pray about for her week. That little act has done something for me that I couldn't really explain but suddenly things began to make sense.

Later, my dad and I were texting about his email and he explained that the idea actually came from Galations 6:8 and the surrounding text. Here's what I found when I looked it up: Galations 6:7. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

"Yes! I like it."

I don't know about you, but my default mode is definitely to sow to the flesh. What a lot of problems I could solve by choosing to make sowing to the spirit a way of life!

I challenge you - go write your children each a note saying one thing you like about them and slip it on their plate at supper. Send a card in the mail to someone every day for a week. Bake some cookies and give a plate to the neighbor. Help your child with one of their jobs. Wash the dirty windows you've been ignoring. Meet your husband at the door with combed hair and a smile...... the ideas are endless.... I'm feeling strengthened by Joy just thinking about it!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

10 Random 'Sometimes'

1. Sometimes I wonder how many hours of sleep I've lost since becoming a mom. Wouldn't it be interesting to know?

2. Sometimes I quake in my shoes at the thought of 3 teenage daughters in the same house one of these days....

3. Sometimes I look back at certain times in my life and wonder, how in the world did I ever do that???

4. Sometimes the thought of winter coming makes me want to curl up in a cave and not come out til Spring.

5. Sometimes I am easily convinced that keeping a cobweb free house is very over rated.

6. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be married to me... but then my mind goes blank, so I quit.

7. Sometimes I sit at my new house and imagine all kinds of loveliness inside and out... and then I remember we'll still be the same people living there and I get out my reality eraser.

8. Sometimes I look at my youngest and wonder if there ever was such a sweet child? And then he screams over something he wants, and I remember that he's pretty much like all the other little children in the world.

9. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if we wouldn't have to eat. Think of all the things I could do with the time not spent making food for hungry people....

10. Sometimes I wonder if bloggers who write up lists of random things just can't think of anything to write about or if they thought they really came up with an interesting post?

Monday, October 12, 2015

New River Gorge

We went on an excursion Saturday. It was a classic, Chris Eicher brand of excursion -- throw out the idea of doing something in passing several days in advance, then decide the night before that, yes, we're going and then keep the children in suspense on the particulars until we get there...

I won't tell you how I had my Saturday all planned full of Important Stuff already and how much I didn't even want to go on an excursion. I won't tell you how hard I struggled inwardly before I chose to see the love and accept the gift; we won't go into all of that.

I will just tell you how I saw a man who decided, "You know what? House building is important but it's not going anywhere. October days to do something with my family? They're disappearing fast. Family is more important." How could I refuse all the love wrapped up in a gift like that?

So we went.

We got up, and we got dressed and we headed out into the chilly morning on an excursion; which is all Chris would tell the children about where we were going. We finally looked the word up for Jennifer, who desperately wanted to know what an excursion was.

We drove and we drove until some people were sure we would never get there. But we finally did arrive amongst the beautiful mountains of West Virginia.

We took a little hike down a bunch of steps to see what we could see...

To the left we saw the incredibly deep gorge and the tiny little bridge that used to provide access across the New River. To the right we saw the amazing new bridge that cut the time of crossing the gorge from 40 minutes to just a couple of minutes.

Then we climbed back up all the steps...

And drove down the winding, narrow road

Across the old bridge and on to more sights to see and good food to eat on the way home.

It was well worth laying aside all my plans for Important Stuff to spend a day with these people that I love!


Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Thank You to the Men

I was sitting in McDonalds with Charles beside me. Part of my mind was busy with eating - rescuing the ketchup from the edge of the table, reaching a hand to steady the drink, wiping the drips from my own chin - the other part of my mind was busy watching people. We had been helping at the new house, so we slipped off for lunch with Chris, and the place was crowded. Mostly with men.

I'm not really sure why the many men caught my attention. Maybe because for months now the subject rolling around in the back of my brain has been God's plan for the roles of men and women. Or maybe it's because, for about five months now, I've been watching a man build a house.

Being a mom 24/7 often feels exhausting. I don't know how often I have flopped into bed at night with a sigh and remarked wryly, "I'll go to work tomorrow and you can stay here!" Chris is always more than willing to agree to the arrangement. The truth is, we both know full well it's a joke; neither role is really easier.

I've been reading the American Girl books to my girls and it's been interesting to get glimpses into different eras in our American history. The most recent books we read were set during the depression. In the back of the books they share all kinds of interesting facts and information about that time period. One of the facts from the depression era that stuck out to me was the loss of jobs and the extreme measures men went to to provide for their families. A lot of men left their families under the pretense of finding work elsewhere and never came back. Their logic was that hopefully their wife and children would be more likely to receive aid if there was no husband at home.

As I watched the many men that day at McDonalds, it was obvious that most of them were on lunch break. I had to wonder, where do they all work? Do they like their jobs? Are they struggling to pay the bills? What kind of life do they live? Do they look forward to going home in the evening?

Just from my observations of the men in my own life, I expect that most of those men waiting in line to place their orders and select their drink and straw shared one objective: providing for those in their care. Some were doing it with work callused hands and rugged boots. Some were doing it with suit and tie and hours spent on the phone. Some were doing it by taking orders from the boss man and punching in a time clock. Some were doing it by taking on the headaches of being in charge.

I've been watching a man build a house. I am amazed at the endless amount of work it takes; tedious, time consuming, hard work. It gets hot working out in the sun, did you know? Measuring and cutting and figuring and climbing up and down a ladder is no walk in the park either. And then, some days the hero in my story spends the second half of his day going off to a Tire Shop to work til 7 pm!

It is true that sometimes pure hard physical work looks almost more inviting than the emotions and stress of motherhood and I'm not really here to say one is harder or easier than the other. What I am here to say is that I'm feeling a deep, healthy dose of respect for all the men who get out there every day and work to provide for their wives and families.

To all of you hard working men: I am in awe of your determination and dedication. To you I am offering a heart felt Thank You. May your lives be blessed.
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Monday, October 5, 2015

The Old Lady I'll Meet

* As I sat with church ladies for our bi-annual share time before communion, I was blessed by hearing the hearts of all different ages. For some reason I especially noted the older ladies in our group and felt blessed to have examples before me of the old lady I want to be some day. In the days that followed I've been pondering how I'll become the old lady I want to meet......

One day I will meet an old lady,
The lady I meet will be me!
When her eyes meet mine and I see her,
I wonder what sort she will be?

Will her eyes hold a twinkle of cheer,
With wrinkles turned up in a smile?
Or will I see eyes dark with sadness,
And wrinkles downcast all the while?

Will I sense a heart of acceptance,
Content with the loss age has brought?
Or will I sense doubt and depression,
Discouraged by all that is not?

Will I see some act to encourage,
A kind word of helpful good cheer?
Or will I see self-centered boredom,
With no thought for friends far or near?

Will toils of long life prove to soften,
To season with wisdom and grace?
Or will I find cynical hardness,
A sour and bitter, sad place?

I wonder if children will love her,
Will they love to knock on her door?
Or will their loud noise be a bother,
A thing she can't take anymore?

Will she still be friends with her husband,
A love strong through all of the years?
Or will time with him be a bother,
Annoyance that drives her to tears?

One day I will meet an old lady,
The lady I meet will be me!
When her eyes meet mine and I see her,
Will I like the things that I see?

I wonder, what makes a sweet lady,
A lady who's years make her old?
I wonder how life and it's lessons,
Turn out a sweet heart pure as gold?

I wonder what tips she would give me,
What words of advice she would say?
Somehow I expect she would tell me,
"You'd better be starting today!"

"Those traits that you hope to be finding,
You'd better be practicing now!
They will not appear just like magic,
They do not just happen somehow."

Someday I will meet an old lady,
The lady I meet will be me!
I'd better consider my actions,
If right now is really the key.