Monday, February 21, 2011

Eating Well and Having Small Children

Yesterday and overnight, Dustin worked at the ambulance. I think he had fun, calls and seeing people...And then...there's me. AT HOME, ALONE, ALL NIGHT, with our two wonderful children.
This is not a complaint, this is motherhood, but let me just ask you, what I ask them. "Do you time these things?" Just when I take care of one, the other one decides it is their turn.
I know, you are thinking, "you decided to have two children close together, you brought it on yourself." I know I did.  99.25% of the time I would never change a thing. Then there's this measly. 0.75% that involves two children screaming, demanding, or needing my attention at the same time or right in a row. 
I always noticed that Ian had "impecable timing," now that Ella is here too, apparently they have decided to coordinate their efforts. This came amazingly clear when I tried to make supper.
Ian woke up late from his nap (4:30) so he was up for an hour and he got totally cranky. I made him supper. He wasn't going to be eating the same things as me. (I was having stir-fry, he wasn't going to go for it).  As he was eating, I cut my veggies, washed dishes, got things ready for later.
Ella wanted some attention, so while Ian was eating. I dealt with that. By 6:00, I am getting hungry, my veggies aren't completely cut yet. I got my rice on at 5:45, so by 6:30, I should have everything ready. My stirfry and my rice. I'm terrible at timing meals to come out at the same time, so I'm feeling proud. (Pride cometh before the fall)
The chicken is cooked, I take it out of the wok. I throw in my celery and carrots to start cooking and...Ella starts to wail. I had tried to feed her at the same time as Ian, but she was having none of that and now I know why. She was waiting until I was making my dinner in a hot wok with brown rice on the simmer.
So, I got her cereal and fed my daughter.
Then I figured out why mom's eat like crap. We are always taking care of someone, and that's not a bad thing, but taking ourselves comes so far from behind that we don't even cook a decent meal for ourselves. I realized this as I contemplated, "Maybe when the rice is done I could put it in the fridge along with the cooked chicken and then I'll try again tomorrow to eat decent and tonight I'll grab something else."
I've been working hard to eat healthier. I feel better when I do, it's amazing in a short time how much better I feel. And the children are what side track me. They don't mean to, it's not intentional, I know that. They have needs and I or their father are the only ones who can fill them. I'm a SAHM, that means...I fulfill most of those needs and when Dustin isn't home for supper, I fulfill all of them.
I don't know how single parents do this, "You are my heros."  I do the single parent thing for 28 hours and I'm a mess.
Now, some of you are thinking, "You should plan better." I try, did you hear about the 45 minute rice and the veggie cutting ahead of time? But my children don't plan. It's part of the joy of being a child, you don't have to plan.
I keep trying to eat at the same time as Ian and work on his eating habbits, but at 5:30...he was starving and I didn't have my supper ready. Ella had some needs to be taken care of too.
So, I am on this rollercoaster. I'm trying to take care of myself while taking care of them. I love taking care of them, but I realize if I don't do what I can to take care of myself, I am of no use to them. If I don't work on my health, I won't be around later when they still need me. I want to be the mom who loves how she feels, who can run around the yard with them and not get winded. I want to be a healthy example to them on living life. I do my best to keep them healthy (struggling to get Ian to eat vegetables besides cauliflower and celery), so don't I owe it to them and to myself to do the same. They will learn more about from  my example then than anything else I do.
So, I will keep trying
By the way...I did get Ella fed and get my stirfry done. I only ate about 30 minutes later and the brown rice needed a little longer to cook. So, I didn't do too bad this time. Thank goodness. Today. leftover stirfry! I only will have to use the microwave.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The cake...

Tomorrow is my FIL's birthday. I am making a cake...A tractor cake. This is my second one. I made a John Deere for Ian's first birthday. For my FIL, a Farmall.
The from scratch devil's food cake is in the oven. I used my tractor pan. (Yes, I have a pan that is in the shape and with the characteristics of a tractor) Most of the cake is done...The middle is not.
I have become interested in cake decorating in recent years. I have yet to take a class, I almost did, but had to back out, but hopefully I'll get a chance again. My SIL use to make wedding cakes, she actually made ours, so if I asked for any help, she'd be happy to offer advice. So far, I have enjoyed trying it on my own.
Now, here I sit. Almost midnight and the stupid cake, that should have been done 45 minutes ago is suffering from a jiggly middle. I send Dustin to bed about an hour ago. He taught class tonight and got home by about 10:00. He fell asleep in the chair, so I woke him up and sent him to bed. He must be tired because he didn't argue.
So, hopefully tomorrow, I will show you pictures of the cake. I may also include my recent escapades into bread and red velvet cupcakes as well. The turned out cute and the bread was fabulous.
So, until tomorrow...I bid you goodnight. Now I must go jiggle my cake.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Watching Dreams Realized

The last week and weekend have been rather busy, but it has been amazing, wonderful, and fun. Our friend T was here for most of the week and he and Dustin got lots done on the shop. I will have to share about the shop some day. It's a huge accomplishment for our family and our farm.
To top it off, we went out, not once, but TWICE. Yes, Dustin and I, who rarely go anywhere anymore, at least without children, got to go out on two dates. Friday and Saturday! How? You may ask.  Too many good opportunities came up in the same weekend. We both had to scramble to find childcare (which also got me hooked up with some future babysitting possibilities) and we were able to do it.
The best part. The weekend was full of watching some pretty uplifting things.
Friday night, we went to the Arts Center in Jamestown for a dinner theater. "The Purple Orchid List," is a play written by our friend Jennifer. It is the play version of her memoir about how she and her husband Jack met. Jennifer had quite a life, she was married three times and decided she wasn't good at relationships, so instead of saying she was NEVER getting married again, she said she would, when she found someone who had all the qualities on her list. (It is a crazy list) and she met Jack online and he annihilated the list in about two weeks, without even knowing it. It is absolutely the funniest and the sweetest story. I haven't belly laughed like that in a long time. It was wonderful.
It was fun to watch Jennifer's dream come to fruition. We knew she was writing and she had told us about trying to put together the play months ago when we ran into her. Friday, we saw the finished product. We saw the whole thing come together. Jennifer and Jack played themselves, which made the moment even more spectacular. It was being invited into someones dream and getting to live in it, not just hear about it. It has made me think about some of the dreams that I have had and some that I still do that sometimes seem out of reach. I guess I realize, they maybe aren't. Maybe they only are if I put them out of reach. If I say the ladder isn't tall enough, it won't be. If I say it won't happen, it won't. I really think I need to start looking at the barriers I put in my own way.
Saturday was a different day completely. In the evening we went to dinner with friends, but that really isn't the coolest part of the day, it was a blast, love it, but the morning and afternoon were better.
Dustin and I stood at medical standby  at the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament. I had never been to anything related to Special Olympics. I can't say enough about the athletes and the volunteers who make it happen. It was fun to watch the teams, it was inspiring to see so many different ages and abilities play and have fun and compete. The coordinator of the tournament was wonderful about answering questions about everything.  But the best was telling us about one of the games we were watching.
It was really lopsided, but the winning team wasn't playing defense or trying hard. She explained, both teams were from the same town. The one team, "The Wolves" knows they are going to win. They always do and they are very good. So, because they know they are going to win, they make sure that the other team gets to try and shoot. It was pretty amazing. But, among all the athletes, you realize, this is there NBA finals, they wait for this and love it. I hope we get asked to go again.
Dustin and I rarely celebrate Valentine's Day with more than a card, if that. It's just not something we always do or are able to do. It depends if we think about it soon enough or if there is something going on. This weekend, the time we spent together was the best gift.   We did a lot of talking, not that we don't do that, but there was something about just talking without Ian interjecting every 30 seconds. "Hi Mommy, Hi Daddy," which has become in the last 3 weeks his newest thing. He wants to talk and so if he can't think of things to say, we get "hi"  ALL THE TIME!
But Ian is getting his dreams realized too. He is learning to express himself more and more every day. He gets sooooo excited when he says something and I understand the first time he says it. I get excited when I give him an instruction and he says, "Okay, Mommy" and then he goes and does it. He loves to help and I love to praise him with kisses and cuddles and tosses around the room. He loves to tickle his sister and he makes her giggle more and more every day and he entertains her and while he doesn't know it, that is the best gift, to watch them grow up together and interact with one another. Ella is fascinated with her big brother and all he can do. She wants to crawl so badly, you can see it. You can see her excitement when a toy is on the blanket and she works and works to get to it and  then...success. She's so proud, she giggles and smiles and then she has to figure out what it does.
So many dreams are realized around me every day. I'm part of fulfilling some of them (at least with my kids).  And so, I think I need to appreciate my own dreams more and what they mean. I think it's time to not put them so high on the shelf on the "someday" pile or in the "it's to hard to do right now" bin. I still have dreams and I can still work toward them.
I see the dreams we have for our family and our farm so easily. It's amazing what we have accomplished in the last 5 years. We never realized we would come this far and be able to do some of the things we have done. But, to fulfill those dreams, some of my personal dreams have been packed away. I wouldn't change the life I have, but I think I need to honor myself a bit more in the life I have. Dustin has tried to push me to do some of them, over and over, but I haven't. I guess because a dream, to some extent, is a risk, at least a risk of exposing yourself and your heart. I don't always do that well. My heart doesn't come back from heartbreak so easily, so even with support, I have a hard time putting myself out there. Risks were easier when I didn't have a family, a business, things to lose. The more you have, the harder it is to risk it, even if the accomplishment would be worth it.
But, I don't have to risk it all. It's not like there's a time limit on some of the things I want to accomplish. I could work on them as I wanted, little pieces at a time and let the goal take care of itself.
I doubt my friend Jennifer just sat down and wrote a play in an afternoon. She has kids and a job and a husband and life. I'm pretty sure she did what she could when she had the time.
My friend D is a glass artist. I know she relishes the time she gets to go to her studio amid life of children and a busy husband, and when she can, she creates.
I have all these dreamers around me and it is time to take from their inspiration and tend to some of mine.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The weekend!

I realize I am writing two posts today. One, because I wanted to thank my cooking inspiration.  Two, I had two different trains of thought and there was no way to put them together.

So, while I am excited about my culinary adventure for the week. I realize that I unloaded about my nerves for the weekend and then would be leaving you hanging if I didn't say anything.

It was a wonderful weekend. I loved being home with my family. That really was the highlight. We played cards every night after the kids went to bed. My mom fed us wonderful food. (From the previous post, you can see what  I learned from that.)  It was relaxing. Especially for me because I get a vacation from SAHM life. Grandma and Grandpa want to and happily do everything. They told Dustin and I to go, so we took an afternoon drive to a nearby town and looked in a few stores, got groceries, took a drive and talked. It was wonderful.

I was most concerned about Sunday. I wanted to just go and preach and see people, lead worship. One person tried to corner me. With a topic, not related to homosexuality or the newest genetics buzz, but a complete weird thing that I never heard before. It was if they said to me. "I read the church is going to start sacrificing goats." 
Um. What? 
I know that people in my denomination are struggling with decisions made at a larger level. I appreciate that. I also don't think it is helpful if you start demonizing the denomination and assume the worst. I am especially bothered when you start demonizing your brothers and sisters in Christ because you disagree with them. I know that passions run high, but disagreements do not mean the other person is horrible or doesn't have a place in God's kingdom or a ministry to do.
So, people. Let me get this out there. "Do not believe everything you read on the internet or a blurp you heard on Fox News!"  You may want to do a little more research beyond that!  I will probably do a little research myself this week on the alleged goat sacrificing. (This was not the topic I was cornered with, but it might as well could have been.)

Other than that moment that I got out of rather quickly, saved by someone coming in the office. It was wonderful. I preached my sermon, lead worship. I felt energy coming back at me from the congregation and they all looked rather tired when we started.   Someone said so my mom, "There was a lot to take home for the week." To me, that is the biggest compliment there is. when someone says that it will give them something to think about during the week and for their life. I think that is one of the reasons we all get into this. We want people to see Jesus with them Monday-Saturday, not just Sunday.
So, it was a great trip home. Topped off with Youth Fellowship Subs that we got after worship. They made a very yummy lunch for the family.

So, maybe you can go home again. And maybe you can get in the pulpit again. You can't beat that for a weekend.

Inspired! To Cook!

I have to thank Flathead Mama for her recent inspiration on the cooking front. Thank you! I have dealved into a whole new world in the last weeks.
Cooking Light.,  and Weight Watchers
I cooked something other than lasagna with Ricotta, I finally figured out to cook brown rice the right way. (I prefer it to white, but have always had trouble cooking it).  I was reminded how much I like to make my own chickenstock...So, this week. I am buying a whole chicken and roasting it! I will get three meals from one bird and it will be affordable and delicious.
I was at my mom and dad's for the weekend. I learned something about my relationship with food. I learned it from my conversation with Dustin on the way home. We were talking about how my mom always sends food home with us. I appreciate it. I sent the cake down to my inlaw's house. I threw the spaghetti sauce in the freezer. It was made with ground elk and buffalo. I'll use that in the next weeks as a quick go to meal.
I got off track, back to my mother. My mom says, "I love you," with food. So, while on the one hand, I grew up hearing, "You could stand to lose a few pounds."  On the other hand, I would hear, "Have some more cake."
I think this is why I have struggled with weight and food. I take it as comfort and to some But, the food isn't love. Love came from the person who made it for me. And sometimes, that got a bit misguided, especially when coupled with mixed messages.
Since Ella's birth, I have been trying to make better decisions and define a new relationship with food. I've been reminding myself that love comes from the people around me. And when I am hurt, when I get frustrated by the actions of others, when I feel attacked and like I need to hide...I will not find love and confort from a carbohydrate. (Let's face it, I never met a carb I didn't like!)

I actually looked forward to coming home from our weekend, just so I could plan the week ahead. Today will be an easy night. Tomorrow, I'll do some grocery shopping in the midst of our busy day.  We are gone from morning until later afternoon. But, after that, the week should lighten up with the craziness. I want to love myself with the food choices I make. I can make choices that will be healthier for my family as well. It is a cycle that needs to be changed in my life. I know that with the loss of weight, my energy level would greatly improve, and my energy level is actually pretty high when I'm not dragged down by weeks of cold weather and no sunlight.
Right now, according to my physical, except for my weight, I am healthy. Good BP, not pre-diabetic, good cholesterol numbers. I bounced back incredibly well after Ella's birth.  Right now, my body has not yet started to turn against me. I know it is a matter of time if I don't change things for the better. I am being given an opportunity.  I don't know what the future will bring. I do know that no matter how I proceed in changing my weight and health, my relationship with food will be important.

I am excited about getting started this week...The reason is practical. We have company and so, it is soooo much easier to cook for more than two people. I will eventually figure out the things that I can freeze for "playback at a later time." Until then. I can develop a new arsenal.
So, to my visiting guinea pig for the week. I hope it goes well. You are going to be part of a new week of food.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coming Back Around...Going Home and Preaching

Since I left my interim, I have preached 2 times. Both of these sermons were at the church that our family attends. I believe the last time was several months ago now, at least it seems awhile back.

This weekend, we are heading up to my hometown, and I will preach.
There are two reasons for the trip. 1) We haven't seen my parents in over a month and we usually see them a lot more than that. 2) I got a call on the phone and was asked, so I said yes.

I'm excited and nervous. I look back at the places I have preached or spoken in public and yet, this is one that usually gets me. There's some places that lacked any grace at all and ironically those are all in seminary. I still shutter when I think about preaching in chapel my senior year, thankfully, it went really well.
There have been the large crowds. I lead the opening prayer at a national mission event. There were thousands of people! It didn't really bother me, I did my thing.  I was nervous presiding at Synod Assembly my first year in the Synod, yet, I was prepared and did it just like I was taught.  (The Seminary would have been proud!)

But this week. I preach in my home congregation. I don't preach often, but sermon writing and preparation aren't really a problem, it's not that I'm out of practice, it's that...this is my home congregation. I was raised there, confirmed there, ordained there, preached my first sermon there, sang in choir and a whole host of other things.  It's when I am there, I straddle a thin line. On one side, I am seen as little Lucinda (even though I'm 35) and look she's going to do a little sermon. On the other side, I'm Pastor Lucinda, and we have certain expectations of how a pastor is supposed to be.

The irony, the church that raised me, that loved me...I'm nothing like how they expect a pastor to be. I love them, but I grew up in the world of Norwegian piety. It made me who I am, but mostly I don't really subscribe to it. I preach the gospel, I live my life as a forgiven sinner and thank God for the grace given every day. But a pietist...I am not.  Yet, I am who I am because these people loved me into the faith. The definitely flavored the marinade that soaked in for most of my life.

I get nervous preaching for them. Why? Because I know the expectations they have had on pastors, I don't live up to any of them.  My husband reminded me last night and to paraphrase him, (You preach the sermon you are called to preach, what's on your heart. It's not about thier expectations.)  And he's right. A sermon shouldn't be what is expected. The gospel isn't expected, it should challenge us, stretch us, convict us (okay, the last three are a better function of the law), but the gospel is the unexpected part because it frees us and makes us knew after all.

Part of me is a bit nervous because I know my context, but now it is as an outsider. I know what's going on in the congregation from what my parents tell me. I know there is a lot of struggle there right now. It hurts me because you don't like seeing the place that took care of you in pain. It's hard because I hear and feel my mom and dad's frustration. I'm frustrated because, I worry that all the good ministry, that I was a beneficiary of as a kid, is stalled because people aren't able to work together and because everyone is trying to "win."  And no matter what happens, there's not going to be a "winner." There is going to be hurt, there are going to be people leaving. And maybe that is where people are feeling called. That is there walk of faith, I can handle that. I can't handle the meaness and condecension that accompanies it.

I remember when the church split when I was a kid. I was 12. It had a huge effect on me and I don't wish that on any of the youth there right now. Most of my family started going to another church, we chose to stay. Other families dealt with the same thing. It took a long time before those wounds were healed. I think now on the other side, we are all fine, but the things that were said to each other in the midst of that...There was no gospel there, there wasn't law there either...It was filled with a lot of finger pointing, unconstructive ranting, and not alot of listening. Lots of talking, not lots of listening.   And a lot of, "We're the real church."

So, I really haven't talked about preaching a sermon, I've just talked about my anxiety. But I think that can be productive too. If I write it all down here, I can get it out and do what I have to do, what I am called to do. Read the text, pray, read the text again, study, pray. Write a sermon. Pray. And then see what comes out because no matter what we preach on a Sunday morning...Let's face it. The Spirit does something with it between the pulpit and people's ears.

So, they say you can't go home again. I am. And maybe I need to remember that my home isn't that town or that church. My home is in that pulpit, the place from which I was called to proclaim the gospel from. No matter where it is. I am called to it. If I was asked to preach this week. God will use me. And then all of us will proclaim the gospel for another week. Maybe with words, but hopefully with out them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When your son HAS NO FEAR! You start to realize your own.

I love my son, but really. He has no fear. Every week, sometimes day, we are marked...And not with the cross of Christ.
This week, he has a healing bump on the head. I was across the room as I watched him run toward the entry, trip on his feet and then nail his head right into the side of the doorway. You know they are hurt when there is silence before the scream...You know the sound or the lack of it. The silence is heavy as your little one realizes that he has really hurt himself...and it hurts...badly
I was across the room in 5 seconds (we have a very small house) and it was already swollen and black and blue.  I looked in his eyes, good news, pupils the same size, appropriately responding to light. We watched that he didn't get prematurely sleepy or odd in his behavior.
I think once a week we get a "I'm running with reckless abandon and you aren't going to catch me" injury. He's right. I can't catch him, but the floor, door, table, chair, or other object in our home usually does.
He runs into the kitchen table. Now, he realizes that it's too short for him to run under. He ducks. Just not always enough.
He didn't get hurt one day, but got in a heap of trouble when we found him climbing up the organ. Using the keyboards as steps.
He really lives every moment with gusto. He learns from his previous injuries, but he just manages to hurt himself living his normal, toddler life. Crazy.
Maybe he'll grow up to be a risk taker. I admit, I'm a bit more cautious in how I live my life. Ian has no fear and I notice my fears more.
Who knows, maybe he'll be a farmer. I never realized the stress I would be under in being a farmer. Every year is new. I hate gambling, I just don't do it well. Maybe it's because I live a life of gamble.
It's measured. We plan, we do what we can make sure we have the best inputs, plan for spraying, scouting, etc. etc. But in the end. You throw your hands up to God and say, "Dear Lord, Take care of us this year." And God does. Some years, you have the chance to do some things that you never thought you'd get the chance to do. Some years, you say, "Thank you Lord for providing for us again this year." And with that, you do what you can to do everything in the most efficient way as possible.
I pray that every year we will make the right decisions and be blessed with the right weather and hopefully...I can continue to stay home.
I think I have been more nervous since the accident over a year ago now. I would have a different title to this blog. "I'm a Farm Wife (I'm Terrified!)
There's something about almost losing the love of your life, your partner in all things, the father of your children that puts life in perspective. I want to live every moment to the fullest, yet, I also get so nervous about "what if." 
Ian not have any fear, it scares me.  I don't want to keep him in a bubble, yet, the desire to make sure he can never be hurt is overwhelming.
I'll keep teaching him. I'll keep doing what I'm doing, to the best of my ability. Let's face it, Supermom, I am not. But I want to make sure that my fears, (real and imagined) are not responsible for paralyzing him. I want him to learn from the bumps and bruises because I know that I can't keep him from being hurt in life.
Hopefully, I can teach him to walk with humility, sometimes even a little grace. I want him to trust God and know that he will never be abandoned or forsaken. I want him to live with gusto and not as much fear as I sometimes have. I want him to be the best boy he can and grow into a young man who respects himself and others and cares for the people in world who need help.
I hope his fearlessness extends to his ability to love, grow, learn, and pray.
So, maybe having no fear could be a good thing.