Monday, April 27, 2009

My Favorite Smoothie

This is my favorite smoothie. It is easy, pretty economical, and delicious.

Place in blender:

1 banana (I like it to to be pretty ripe so it is sweet)
1 cup frozen blueberries (more or less)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (more or less)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. honey

Blend until smooth, then add about 4-5 ice cubes, one at a time. Serve immediately, while it is still thick and frozen. All measurements are approximate and for your convenience only. I never measure anything and this smoothie is a little different every time, but always delicious.

Laura went to prom at the school district next door with her best friend and another friend of theirs. Here are Amber, Laura and Aubree, doing super model poses.

Below, you can see Amber's date (how nicely they match!), Amber, Laura and Aubree.

Laura doesn't take these things too seriously. Here, she was trying to crack Amber up, and it looks like she succeeded.

Here are Laura and Aubree. They had a great time dressing up and having fun.

Jonathan's flower

This is the flower that Jonathan made at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Here he was getting directions.

Here he began to roll out the hot glass. It is over 2000 degrees Farenheit.

You can see Jon using a tool to pull out the design.

Another view of the final product.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This is a picture of Jonathan, suited up to work with hot glass at the Corning Museum of Glass. You pretty much can't tell how cool he is when you see this picture, but I promise, underneath all that protective gear, there is a happenin' dude. Pretty soon I might have a picture of what he made...

It would be nice to be funny.

Sometimes I make people laugh, but it is usually unintentional. That's OK, really. I'm just glad if people laugh at me, even if it is really at me, and not along with me. I'm not too proud to be the butt of a joke.

What I really hate is when people are horrified by me. That is uncomfortable. A good healthy dose of humor can remedy some of the most awkward situations. I appreciate people who laugh at me.

Once I had a friend, Ginny, who laughed her head off at nearly everything I said. This was at a point in life when I was probably clinically depressed, and I was beyond pessimistic. We would get on the phone, and I would start describing my day, and she just laughed and laughed and laughed... before I knew it, I was laughing with her, and life didn't seem all that bad. I don't know if she was doing it on purpose to cheer me up. She was the kind of person who would have done such a thing, if she had thought of it. But she seemed completely genuine. She moved away to somewhere near Seattle and we tried to exchange Christmas cards for awhile, but both of us being mothers of multiple little children, the relationship didn't survive the distance very well. I missed her so much when she first moved away. I think she was the first good friend I had in New York.

Someone else could have heard me say the same things, and instead of laughing, a different person might have scolded me, or condemned me, or told me that I was wasting their time, being a drain. It's interesting how I can see the futility of such an approach from the outside, when I myself am the subject in debate. I think our natural response to people is to condemn them and criticize, but when it happens to us, how quickly we see that it doesn't work. You never make a person feel better about herself by telling her everything that is wrong with her. Obviously.

You make people feel better about themselves when you love them and have positive interactions with them. Demonstrating that you will "put up" with someone just demeans her all the more. Delighting in someone enables her to feel delightful, and when she begins to believe that she has the capacity to delight someone, she is empowered with a sense of security and esteem that helps her in every ensuing relationship.

It is usually pretty easy to delight in your friends; after all, that's why they are your friends... because you enjoy their company. Sometimes it is harder to delight in your family, or sometimes we are just lazy about it. When someone isn't "cutting the mustard" it is easier and much more natural to read him the riot act than to creatively come up with a plan for having positive interactions and building confidence, self-esteem and love. Self-esteem originates in being loved. And in family relationships we often forget that love needs to be more than a duty, it needs to be our delight.

God calls us to love one another. Jesus said in John 15:12, "This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you." He also said, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples," (John 13:35). Later, John wrote, "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God," (1 John 4:7). Again, I think it is important to seek a love that surpasses duty and expresses itself with true delight for those it loves.

Which includes humor. What parent has not experienced the excruciating joy of laughing at the hilarious antics and conversation of a two-year-old? Why does it stop when they get older? Why is it so much harder to laugh at a 12-year-old? Or a 15-year-old? How do you hold on to that mirth, or recapture it?

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength," (Proverbs 17:22).

Let's learn to laugh together, in our families, in our friendships, in our churches. Let's be willing to be a little ridiculous and accept others when they are, too.

Lord, please help me to love through laughter.

Monday, April 13, 2009


The hardest thing for me to forgive is someone who needs to forgive me and won't.

I have been a Christian for approximately 39 years. I have read through the Bible three times, and am sort of working on the fourth. I teach Sunday school and Bible studies. And yet, I seem to be paralyzed in this area of life.

My family was very forgiving. My mom made a lot of mistakes, and so did I, but each day was a fresh new beginning. Often, apologies were not spoken, but grudges were never held. A new morning came with a new civility, kind words, open conversation, and the wordless communication that bygones would be bygones and we would move on.

I do not know if this is the best way to handle conflicts. I think a direct apology is a better route to take. But sometimes you can make a direct apology. You can say, "I was wrong. I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I hurt you. I am sorry. I promise I will never do that again." You can do that... and the person may continue to treat you with hostility. At such a point, you can't grow bitter and resentful, much as it seems impossible not to. But, neither, I think, should you grovel and snivel and do all manner of deeds to try to earn the person's favor. At a certain point, you have to leave it up to the other person to work things out with the Lord. At a certain point, it is no longer about your heart, but about the other person's heart, and you just have to let go.

The first time I was in a situation like this, I never imagined that the hurt feelings could be permanent. I had been hurt, and I was not gracious about it. I did not suck it up like a grown up lady; I let it be known that my feelings were hurt. The result was a condemnation of my character that has held through over 22 years. No apology, no forgiveness, just silent, everlasting condemnation with no end in sight. And yet, I have to forgive. I have to, or I will shrivel in my spirit and perish. It is a battle that seemingly will never end, this need I have to forgive in the face of condemnation. I throw myself on the mercy and grace of God, and still I fail more often than I succeed.

Now I've done it again. I allowed hurt feelings and stupid desperation to lead me to bad decisions and bad actions. I have tried to make things right. I have apologized, hung my head in shame, wept. And yet, I am facing bitterness, unforgiveness. I've already been through 22 years of this. I pray that this doesn't add another lifetime sentence to my penance on earth.

But even if it does, I pray that God will give me grace to forgive those who will not forgive me. If Jesus could forgive those who abused Him and hung Him on a cross to die, surely I can at least do this, with the power and strength of His Spirit living in me.

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nails and stuff

Every time I go to Sam's Club, I break a fingernail. Since I go to Sam's pretty much once a week, my fingernails are getting really short. Not that I'm into manicures or anything, but I do like the protection and functionality that a modest fingernail affords.

My mother drinks jello for her nails, and she hates it. She literally gags on it. She heats it up and drinks it because she finds it slightly less loathsome as a warm liquid than as a cool gel.

If I went to Sam's as infrequently as I update this journal, my family would starve. I haven't been doing well at either cooking or writing. Guess I'm busy.

Laura seems to be doing better, finally.