Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seven

My baby turned seven today. I can hardly believe that seven years have gone by. He is the youngest and will forever have a special place in my heart. Sometimes I wish I could just bottle his optimism and share it with the world. A good friend and I often joke that Lucky and her little girl, A, view the world through a prism of rainbows and unicorns. I hope that never goes away. His smile, sense of humor, and laugh brighten my days. I am so thankful to have him in my life. Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Should I build an Ark?

As you have read, our basement is flooding. This is not unheard of as it has happened before. What is crazy is that a water main broke at Husband's work early this morning. He spent all morning helping manage the crisis. What I am beginning to see is that the universe is sending us a sign that either:

1. We should build an Ark.

or

2. We are supposed to be living on an island, such as Hawaii.

I am leaning towards option #2. While the kids would get a kick out of building an Ark, I see myself swimming in the beautiful waters off of Hawaii. Which would you choose?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

One Crazy Easter

Every year, my father and his wife host a family reunion with all the immediate family. This adds up to around thirty people all staying in one house. It is a lot fun, but can be a bit overwhelming - especially for an introvert like myself. We left Friday for what we thought would be an easy four hour drive. I guess we learned that you should never really take Mother Nature for granted because she can kick your butt when you least expect it.

We left in rain. Never fun, but not a big deal. About an hour in, the rain became a storm. Then hail. Then a white out. Then a full-on stop on the highway. By this time I call my dad and ask what is up. Evidently, the horrible storm caused a pile-up and we were stuck in the ensuing traffic jam. This added an extra hour and half to our drive. By the time we got to the Quad Cities, we were exhausted. No rest for the weary, though. Everyone else had gotten there last night and were headed out to laser tag. After throwing a mini-fit, we all headed out too. The rest of the night was the usual chaos, adult beverages, talent show, and catching up. I went to bed thinking the worse was behind us.

The next morning, I casually check the computer to clear out Facebook (I hate having a billion status' build-up). First thing that pops up is a friend in Iowa asking if we were ok. Strange. Why wouldn't we be ok? A little panic starts in. I immediately check out the St. Louis news websites and discover that tornadoes tore through the northern suburbs (where I live!!!) Friday night. I immediately call my in-laws, who live across the street and are watching our dogs. Thankfully, for us, the tornado hit the suburb next to us and our house is ok. He informs me of all the damage. He also said they were surprised we didn't call last night. I DIDN'T KNOW! There are 30 people in the house, we never turned the TV on. I also immediately thought of all my friends who live in the suburbs that were hit. It appears that they are all ok. I will find out even more on Tuesday. The kid's school draws several families from the affected area. It is just so scary. It has been a horrible year for St. Louis and storms. Unfortunately, we did hear that our basement started flooding again. great. Husband checks the news and sees that more storms are predicted for Sunday. We decide we will leave Iowa early and try to beat them home and get the basement situation under control.

We ended up going to the early Mass. Now a side-note. A lot of Catholics come out of hiding for Easter. We went to the 8.30 service and it was PACKED. We ended up sitting in the very first row. I am fine with this, mostly because then I can see everything and the kids do better. What I failed to realize was that it meant that we had communion first. This then meant that we had to kneel while we waited for everyone else. Remember, there was an over-flow crowd. All I will say is fourteen hours later, my knees are still killing me.

After Mass we packed up and headed home. Thankfully the ride home went smoothly. Just a little rain and we made great time. Unfortunately, our basement is definitely flooded. Husband is wiped out from wet-vac'ing it. The worst is that it is still coming in, so this will be my Monday. Since it is supposed to rain some more, it will also probably be my Tues, Wed, etc. I keep telling myself, at least I still have a roof and power - that is a whole lot better then a lot of people around me. Amazingly, no one was killed or severely injured. To me that is an Easter miracle.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Disappointed

I don't know how many of you are aware (or even care), but there is a big brouhaha going on in the vegan world. One of my favorite magazines, VegNews, has been caught using real meat/dairy pictures in their magazine. They have passed the photos off as vegan food. I first read about it on the Ecorazzi site and am leaning towards the views posted by their editor. VegNews Magazine has also posted a response.

I have to say I am very disappointed in the magazine. I truly love reading it and was so happy to have found it years ago. I trusted its integrity. This is a big blow. For you meat eaters, it probably seems a little silly. But, when you are trying to make yummy vegan food and demonstrate that it is just as good as *your* food, you want to know that the picture in the magazine is what the food will look like!

I understand their reasoning (cost issues), but I hope they find a way to work around this. It really was a knock to their credibility and it will take awhile to get it back. I believe in second chances, though, and I will certainly give them one. VegNews is a fun, current magazine and I would hate for the vegan/vegetarian world to lose their voice.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shout Out

I really want to give a shout out to this new UU blog: Red Pill Brethren. I don't know who they are, it appears to be a closely guarded secret, but I love their premise of UU becoming missionaly focused. By that, I mean getting out of the church and into the community. I am fortunate to already be part of a congregation who is dedicated to this, but I have been told that isn't the norm. I have watched as the ELCA Lutheran church has been promoting this idea (hence the Be Like Jesus event I previously posted) and would love to see this become part of the national UU lexicon. Sometimes I wish we had a little more structure so these awesome ideas could be quickly disseminated.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lent: Pretzels

Did you know pretzels are an historically Lenten bread? According to my favorite monk and baker, Fr. Garramone: "...made with only water, flour, yeast and salt. The classic shape is meant to suggest arms crossed in prayer, which gave rise to their Latin name, bracaella, "little arms." This word became bretzel in Old German, which eventually shifted to pretzel."

We love to make his Quick Pretzel recipe. As the name implies, they are easy and quick. They are pretty much gone as soon as they come out of the oven. If you get a chance, I encourage you to make some. As Fr. Garramone often notes, baking can be a very spiritual experience. Why not add it to your Lenten practice?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fluctuating

Have you ever found that at one moment you can see all the positives in the situation and feel very hopeful and then the next minute see only the negatives and feel that it is hopeless? Why does this happen? A deep part of myself is very hopeful, but then I find myself wrapped up in negative thoughts that what is now will forever be. I hate that train of thinking. It is so unproductive, but so easy to fall into.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Be Like Jesus

This past Friday/Saturday, my two older kids went to an event sponsored by the ELCA Lutheran churches in the area. It was a lock-in/service event called Be Like Jesus. As you know, the kids go to a Lutheran school and many of the their friends were attending the event. At first I was a little skeptical. What was really going to happen at this thing? But then I thought, "Jesus was a pretty cool guy. He didn't sit in a church waiting for the world to change. He went out there and did something. He walked the walk." So (with a little hesitation) I said yes. I decided to trust the parents who had chaperoned this before and assured me that it was very well run and service oriented. I then proceeded to worry for the next 24 hours.

The kids are now safe at home, and, sure enough, they had a great time. After a fun Friday night of games and music, they woke up early Saturday and spent all day doing various service projects. They helped clean an elderly persons yard, planted flowers, collected shoes door to door, canvased for canned food at the grocery store, visited a retirement home, and made special pillows for St. Jude's hospitals. Some of the activities were way out of my comfort zone - especially the grocery gleaning and door to door shoe drive. Thankfully, they were well chaperoned and in safe neighborhoods. I also had to remind myself that they were asking for these things for a good cause (for the food bank and to help build clean wells in Africa). Sometimes we do have to put ourselves out there for good causes and get over our reservations and just ask. Most importantly, though, they spent their day doing things to help other people and not sitting at home wishing we were at the City Museum. We could all probably stand to be a little more like Jesus.