Friday, April 30, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Oh, we made another good veggie recipe last night!  I am a sucker for anything with lime, or cilantro, or black beans, so of course throwing them all together in one springy, brightly-colored dish is heaven.  This makes a light and refreshing meal as these Texas days continue to heat up (this morning, for the first time, I didn't need the heater to take the chill off my drive to work!).  I served the salad over quinoa cooked with chicken broth to make it a little more substantial (if you haven't tried quinoa yet, you really should, it's an amazingly nutritious grain with deliciously nutty flavor and you can find it in most supermarkets).  And since I felt like going the extra mile, I even made my own whole wheat flour tortilla chips, which were pretty tasty.

Spring Time Black Bean and Pepper Salad

Ingredients for Dressing:
Juice and zest of 2 limes
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Salad:
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, sliced, for topping (if desired)

Mix up all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl with a lid that fits on really tight.  Add  the rinsed and drained black beans, put the lid on and shake it all up real good (this part's always fun!) to thoroughly coat the beans.  Set that aside to marinate a little while you're chopping veggies (I also got the quinoa and the tortilla chips going at this time so it would all be ready together).

Once all your vegetables are chopped, toss everything but the avocado in with the marinated beans and mix it all up good.  Spoon dressed salad over quinoa and top with avocado slices.  Then grab your tortilla chips and eat it all up.

Homemade Whole-Wheat Tortilla Chips (for extra credit):

While oven is heating to 300, mix a few Tbs. olive oil in a small bowl with one clove minced garlic and a healthy helping of sea salt.  Brush oil mixture over whole wheat tortillas (you can get great ones from the bakery at most grocery stores) and cut into quarters.  Spread tortilla wedges over a cookie sheet (it's okay if they overlap slightly) and bake for 10-15 minutes until toasty.  You'll want to keep an eye on them, as they can go from needs-a-little-more-time to Cajun-blackened very quickly.  Try as a compliment to this meal or a fun snack with hummus and other dips any time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm Ready to Kiss Jack Bauer Goodbye

24 is at the top of my list of favorite TV shows, but I'm kind of glad we're finally bidding it farewell this season.  Though I will miss it, I'm convinced that this season is the best possible way to end 24.  Here are four good reasons to say goodbye now.
  1. It's always best to quite while you're ahead.  After the mess of last season, I was pretty afraid that 24 would never be able to recover.  They threw in everything but the kitchen sink with regard to played out plot-devices, including but not limited to the character assassination of one of my favorites, Tony Almeida.  Between his unbelievably improbable return from death and his constant I'm-bad-but-I'm-secretly-good-no-wait-I'm-good-but-I'm-secretly-bad-no-wait constant flip-flopping they turned a formerly beloved character into someone I could not muster even a shred of interest in. I don't even remember where he ended up, nor do I care to.  But this season, they've turned it all around.  All good things must come to an end, and I'd like to see 24 go out on a high note.  
  2. We're back to the formula.  It may seem not seem like a compliment to call a show formulaic, but 24 is different.  There is a set formula to 24.  Things always work in a certain manner.  You might think that would get old and boring but it never does.  And anytime they mess too much with the formula everything goes off the rails.  When something works, it works, and 24 is definitely back to working again.  Better to take it out on a high note now than to watch the show dissolve again.
  3. They've put together a seriously great cross-over cast.  This season probably has the best cast we've ever seen on 24.  They've struck a great mix of returning favorites (Chloe!  Renee!  President Taylor!  Ethan!) and brilliant actors from other shows I love (Starbuck!  Sark!  Leoben!  Horace!  Bubba!  Also, that dude from Slumdog Millionaire!  Even Freddie Prinz, Jr does a much better job than I would have ever expected. The cross-over connections definitely up the fun factor.  And it would be a hard group to top in the future.
  4. Jack finally met his match in Renee Walker.  Any love interest for Jack after this will just seem tawdry and cheap by comparison.  There has never been a female character on this show to equal Renee.  Usually the women on 24 are extremely annoying and extremely dumb.  Michelle Dessler is definitely an exception, making her a great match for Tony (who, let's face it, was always sort of the poor man's Jack anyway), but only Renee has been able to truly match Jack blow for blow (and crazy for crazy).  Of course, he had to lose her.  It's a rule that all the cool chicks either turn evil or get dead on this show.  But I won't begrudge that because it's part of the formula that makes 24 work so well.  Plus, we get to see a rage-fueled Jack tearing his way through New York City issuing justice and vengeance for the rest of the season.    
As for Jack's final fate?  I'm kind of hoping he dies at the end.  Not because I'm mean or hateful, but just because it really seems the only fitting end.  As long as there are bad guys in the world there are going to be dire situations, terrorist threats, attempted nuclear attacks, etc....  And as long as there are all those things, Jack Bauer will continue to fight against him.  There will be no retiring to the easy life for Jack.  He could never do that.  Jack wasn't meant for happy and peaceful.  He was meant for kicking ass and taking names.

I don't like imagining a future with Jack Bauer growing old and gray in his rocker.  And it just doesn't work to leave a dot, dot, dot at the end of Jack's story.  Just like there could be no show without Jack Bauer, it doesn't make sense to think of Jack Bauer without this show.  I'd kind of like to see them both go out together.  Preferably while doing some impossible world-saving, self-sacrificing thing that only Jack Bauer is capable of.  Only then do I think Jack Bauer will finally be at peace.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Home Improvement, Part Two

I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  By bed time last night we had managed to get most of the cabinet drawers and doors back in place, and even put some of our decorative stuff back together.  It's been quite a bumpy ride.  But I think it's going to pay off.

No photo to give reference to the "before" wall color.  Suffice it to say it was a very blah and grimy off-white.  This is after we painted the walls, just before we started on the trim and cabinets.

At the height of the insanity.  Can you imagine if we didn't normally have doors on our cabinets?  I think I'd go mad having to look at all that jumble and clutter.

The color is called Vanilla Brandy.  It's really pretty, I don't know that these iPhone photos do it justice.  It has just enough yellow in it to keep it warm and creamy (and not mushroom), and it kind of "glows up" the room.  

We stubbornly insisted on trying to fix meals at home on Saturday, despite the disarray.  Which explains the microwave on the floor.  By last night things were looking better.

The kitties surveying some newly painted and reattached cabinet doors.  They've been cooped up in the guest room since Friday, so they're very glad to reclaim the full run of their domain.

Putting the pieces back together.  Everything looks cleaner and newer now, even my great-grandmother's kitchen cabinet.

Both microwave and coffeemaker back to full functionality.  Pretty essential to have a workable coffeemaker in my world.  We are getting so close.  Will post pictures of the finished product as soon as the product is, well, finished.

*Erin, this is dedicated to you, my dear, since I know my last post was painful to you! 

Meriadoc Brandybuck FTW

Last night Keith and I were on the couch, winding down after the hard work of painting and painting and paiting and painting, and found ourselves in a lively discussion about casting.  Specifically about the hit-or-miss casting of one Joss Whedon, show-runner-and-world-creator extraordinaire.  The discussion spawned from a particularly bad episode of the latest Joss Whedon show that we've gotten into.  It's an older Joss show that we've been Netflixing and it shall remain nameless.  Because we're embarrassed.  It is such and guilty pleasure and despite the fact that it's sometimes (almost always) insanely ridiculous, we're getting a little attached.  So we've sworn each other to secrecy and that is the end of that.

But then our discussion of Joss's casting missteps, led us into another, even more exciting discussion of the near pitch perfect casting of my favorite-movie-of-all-time Lord of the Rings.  Viggo Mortensen may come off a little wooden and weird in most of his other movies, but he is perfect as sorrowful, noble, mysterious Aragorn.  And no other actor could have embodied Gandalf quite the way the brilliant Ian McKellen did.  Wood and Astin are expertly cast as Frodo and Sam.  Mirando Otto brings a fierce strength and a graceful vulnerability to the expanded role of Eowyn.  Besides a few slightly questionable choices (mostly with the elves so maybe it's just really hard to capture the otherwordly beauty of the elves, expect for Cate Blanchett, who did it perfectly but she can do anything) we would not make any changes.

And then, I casually mentioned (fully expecting the most complete agreement from my husband) that, of course, Merry is everybody's favorite hobbit.  He looked at me like I  must be confused.  And this is where it got heated.
Keith:  You mean Pippin.
Me:  (very firmly) Merry.
Keith:  Billy Boyd!
Me:  Dominic Monaghan!
Both at the same time:  But (Pippin/Merry) is the best hobbit!
Keith:  Pippin is so great!  He's so fun and curious.
Me:  Are you crazy?  Merry is brave!  He was brave from the very beginning.  He wanted to fight!  And he was so wise...or at least wise-er...than Pippin.
Keith:  Pippin!!!
Me:  Merry!!!
And so it dawned on me, for the first time, that not everybody automatically thinks Merry is the best hobbit.  I thought this was just a given, a foregone conclusion.  So clear is it in my mind that Merry is written to be the favorite, that it never occurred to me that someone else might identify with (or just appreciate) Pippin more.  So there you go.  Even in the most perfect relationships, you do not always see eye to eye.  Sometimes, no matter how much you love him, your husband will just be entirely wrong.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Home Improvement, Part One

That zany Reich family would have made an entertaining drinking game for anyone following along at home this weekend:  Every time you hear an agonized moan or groan, drink.  When one us lets fly with a crap, damn, hell, or other, more colorful expletive, drink.  Every time you hear a whiny, "Why are we even bothering with this, again?", drink.  When Brooke gets paint in her hair, drink.  When one of us (there's no need to point fingers) gets a little cranky and starts complaining, drink.  When Keith says, "Whoa, nelly!" (because, really, who says whoa, nelly?!), chug.  When the power goes out for twelve hours and the Reichs have to paint in the half-light from the windows, chug.  When Brooke knocks a whole pan of paint from the top of the refrigerator to the floor, chug. Play this game and I guarantee you will be feeling good in no time (or at least smug and superior compared to these two lunks)!

Yes, the Reichs tackled home improvement this weekend.  Specifically, we tackled painting the kitchen.  We intended (bright-eyed, naive, stupid things that we are) to paint the living room and the kitchen, all in one weekend.  But now it's Monday morning and all of our kitchen belongings are still stacked in the living room.  All of our furniture is still pushed to the middle of the floor.  All of our cabinet doors are still off their hinges and piled with our drawers in an unpainted stack on the floor.  Needless to say, we did not get far enough to start on the living room as well.  Painting is really hard, really time-consuming work.

When, oh, when will I finally learn that I am not cut out for "projects"?  I am not a projects kind of girl.  They always sound so fun to me in theory.  "Hey," I say to my husband, "let's paint the living room and the kitchen this weekend!"  Visions dance through my head of Keith and I, slightly paint-smeared and beaming, as we survey our freshly coated little kingdom and pronounce that it is good.  I never imagined the back-breaking contortionist balancing act of standing with one slippery foot planted on the counter, the other knee braced against the refrigerator, trying to even out a corner near the ceiling no one's ever going to see anyway, and not at all being satisfied with less than perfection, because I am a freak.  Why do I keep doing this to myself? And why doesn't my husband shut it down?!  Shouldn't he, also, know better by now?

And yet, we are who we are and we do what we have to do.  Tonight after a full eight hours of pretty demanding work, I will come home and we will put on some music and change into old clothes and continue to paint the kitchen.  Because it needs to be done, and because it will look so good and be so worth it in the end.  And because, though I reserve the right to complain about it at anytime, there is a (slightly masochistic?) part of me that actually enjoys the process of transforming something from old and shabby to bright and better.  Plus, I can't think of any better partner in crime/insanity than the one I've got by my side through all this mess.  I sometimes just can't help but believe that we can accomplish absolutely anything together.  We're already talking about painting the living room next weekend.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Whatever Happened to Big Head Todd and the Monsters?

I remember the very first time I ever heard of Big Head Todd.  I was a freshman in college and had just tasted my first ever Freebirds burrito.  We were on a road trip in Austin, Texas.  One of my friends had been hitting up some random college guys sitting at a table near us and they told her they were going to a Big Head Todd concert that night.  My friend totally flipped.  You would have thought they said they were going to see Dave Matthews at his very own house tonight, so much did she flip.  Apparently, Big Head Todd was a big deal in her home state of Nebraska.

She immediately bailed on our group and headed off to the concert with these random guys.  The rest of us, having never heard of Big Head Todd, continued on our charted course to some kind of SAE Jungle party that night and proceeded to do stupid things while dressed in camo.  Sometimes I wish I had hopped on the Big Head Todd train with my Nebraska friend right then and there.  However, I did eventually get my hands on some of their music and was immediately hooked.  I mean, Bittersweet Surrender, their cover of Wild Horses, An Angel Leads me On, Broken Hearted Savior.  These are great songs!

I listened to a few of those great songs this morning and was struck again (as I so often am when I listen to their great songs) by the fact that we've had no new great songs from them in quite a while.  My mother-in-law ran a physical therapy business near Boulder, CO and one of the Big Head Todd boys (drummer, base-player, can't remember which) was a patient of hers for a while.  Incidentally, she told him she was a big fan, especially of that song about living in a beautiful world.  Yeah, she confused them with Coldplay.  He was very gracious about it, though.  Anyway, he was always talking about a new record they were working on and this was several years ago, so what happened?  Where are they?

It makes me so sad when really good bands that you really love just suddenly fall off the map like that (The Damwells, anybody?).  Which "lost" bands do you miss most?  Here's hoping we hear more from them soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Slurp Your Veggies Tonight

We tested another vegetarian recipe last night:  an incredibly easy-to-make vegetable soup with edamame, zucchini, pasta and pesto.  Sometimes we are so impressed with our own cooking that we stop after every few bites to say to each other, "This is really good!  Don't you think this is good?  Yeah, I think this is really good!"  This was one of those meals.

We made some tiny tweaks to the original recipe, because we like our soups a little on the thick and hearty side.  The pesto is key, so splurge on a good one.  It's an easy way to make a simple meal more impressive.  This was delicious and a great way to keep eating your veggies.  Plus the edamame makes it rich in protein (so you get all the nutrients you need) and very satisfying.  I definitely recommend trying it, especially if you're short on time (like we've been this week).

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Pesto

2 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 cups shelled frozen edamame, thawed
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can crushed tomatoes
4 oz. whole grain macaroni, cooked al dente
8 Tbs. pesto (from a jar)

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add chopped onion and cook till softened, about five minutes.  Then add garlic and zucchini and cook two minutes more.  Add edamame, vegetable broth and tomatoes.  Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until edamame is tender.  Throw in the macaroni, cook until heated through, about one more minute.  Then serve it up in bowls and drizzle with pesto.  We added a little Parmesan cheese on top as well and ate it with whole wheat crackers.  Tasty and so easy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

How's This for Muchness?

Keith took me to see Alice in Wonderland on Saturday afternoon.  For the second time.  Because ever since walking out of the theater the first time, I've been dying to see it again.  And right now?  I still want to see it again. Another time.  Because I love it.

And I know, I know:  deviations from the books, Tim Burton is over-hyped, we've already seen Johnny Depp freakishly pale with weird-colored eyes and an eccentric top hat, show me something new, blah, blah, blah, complaints.  Not everybody is a fan of this movie, I get it.  And not just for very in-valid reasons.  But I don't care.  I loved it.  I loved it!  And this is why:

"You're not the same as you were before.  
You used to be much more...'muchier'.    
You've lost your muchness!"

This?  Resonates with me.  It fills me with emotion.  Because this?  Is what it felt like, at least for me, to grow up.  As a very little girl I was so much more muchy.  And I don't think I'm alone in this.  It seems that so many of us, who caromed and cartwheeled our way through girlhood, suddenly came to a resounding stop.  And then went cringing on into womanhood.

I've written about this before.  I called it beauty, then- the thing I had lost.  But muchness is a much better word.  Because when I said beauty I meant so much more than just appearance.  I meant heart and grit and determination, audacity and daring, purpose and abandon, swagger and strength.  I carried these, I exuded them, without even realizing.  And then suddenly they were gone.

"Why is it, my dear Alice, 
that you always seem to be 
either too small or too tall?"

I don't know why this happens to girls, why it happened to me.  I don't know why the transition to womanhood brings with it this overwhelming sense of just being too much.  And also never enough.  But I felt- and often still feel- a compulsive need to constantly resize myself.  To shrink and then stretch myself in the vain attempt to fit an ideal that is undefined and unattainable.  Imaginary.  And ultimately unimportant.  I don't know where that comes from.  I don't know why being a woman is so much harder than being a girl was.

What I do know is that I loved seeing the fire light up in Alice's eyes.  I loved seeing her reclaim her heart and her swagger.  I loved seeing her grow to love, and then let that love propel and empower her.  She cartwheeled and caromed back up out of the rabbit hole and met her adult life head-on with determination and grace.  I know, I know, it's just a movie and I'm getting carried away with myself (don't care, don't care, la la la).  I just kind of think Alice's jabberwocky-sleighing, futterwacken-dancing, bandersnatch-taming ways are bad-ass.  And I don't care who knows it.  I want to be Alice when I grow up.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Eating Meat Less

We're making a few changes.  Starting small.  Just a few manageable changes in the way we eat.  We've been trying to avoid sugar and highly processed foods for a while.  We've been eating more meals at home and preparing them with good, fresh ingredients.  And we are trying to eat less meat.

This is actually a choice that's been a long time coming.  I've been a little grossed out by meat in general for as long as I can remember.  In our house, Keith has to handle all the raw meat, because if I touch or see it too much before I cook it, I can't eat it after it's done.  This all actually started before, and has only been compounded by, all the research I've been doing lately.  It's really more an emotional decision than a rational one, but still it makes sense.  Right now, I have absolutely no intention of going full-on vegetarian, much less vegan.  We're not eating meatless.  We just want to try eating meat less.  

We've started with our shopping list.  We usually cook four portions of dinner each night, instead of two. Then we make two plates for dinner and package up two lunch portions for the next day.  Saves time, saves hassle, saves money.  We usually shop for about three days worth of meals at a time.  That's really about as far ahead as you can get when you're buying tons of fresh produce.  We plan three dinners/lunches at a time, and have agreed to make two of them vegetarian selections.

I think Keith agreed to this, in the first place, mainly in hopes of cutting down on my gross-out raw meat drama.  But as we sat down to our Indian Vegetable Curry last night, we were surprised to find that we are not so much missing the meat.  A year ago, we both would have told you we insist on having meat with a meal.  Not giving it up, no way, no how.  But when food is as fresh and filling and flavorful as ours was, it's kind of hard to complain.  I totally recommend trying this dish even if you're totally 100% into eating meat.  It's takes a bit more effort that our usual fare because of all the veggie prep, but it was absolutely delicious.

Indian Vegetable Curry

4 cloves garlic
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 Tbs olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, low salt
3/4 cup plain, natural yogurt (we like Greek)
1 1/2 cup small cauliflower florets
1/3 cup water
4 oz fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Extra yogurt for topping

Pop garlic and ginger into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Heat oil in a medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add chopped garlic and ginger, plus onion and spices.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onion softens (about 5 mins).

Throw in tomato, yogurt and cauliflower.  Mix it up good, bring to a low simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.  Then add water, green beans and chickpeas, put a lid on it, and cook covered for 10 minutes more. After that, add the zucchini and cook for 8 more minutes, still covered.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro and a little dollop of yogurt.  The yogurt-y sauce is so good with all that ginger and curry, I swear you'll want to lick the bowl.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thistle Dew Ranch

Nine hundred acres of beautiful Texas hill country on the Brazos river.  Two and half fun-filled days.  One deliciously sassy almost-two-year-old.  Two four-wheelers.  Four horses.  And three of the best friends a girl could ever ask for.  Add it all together and what do you get?  One answer to Freud's age old question:  What do women want?

I spent last weekend with Erin, Lori and Kelly at the Thistle Dew Ranch just outside of Palo Pinto, Texas.  We cooked, ate, talked, rode horses, drank wine, hot tubbed, four-wheeled, hiked, laughed (a lot), slept (a little) and basically just celebrated being together.

The four of us worked in youth ministry together starting way back in 2002 and have shared and experienced so much since then:  graduations, break-ups, first jobs, falling in love.  Through all the heartbreaks and the triumphs these girls have been right there, walking it with me.  Now that we're scattered across the map (Boston, Nashville, Dallas, Waco, and who knows where any of us might end up next) it's rare that we all get to be in the same place together.  Even more rare is for just the four of us to be together (the last few times it's been for each other's weddings, which is so fun, but not as conducive to real togetherness and bonding).  Needless to say we took full advantage.

We had an amazing, beautiful, restoring time.  Something I've been needing desperately.  I'm posting a few photos below.  More to come as I get them.

View from the front of the house.  The Texas wildflowers are blooming like crazy right now and everything is so green from all the rain lately, which just adds to the beauty of it all.  The back of the house sits right on a bluff overlooking the Brazos river.  Can you say breathtaking?

From left to right:  Me riding "Sugar", Erin riding "Patches", Lori riding "Rocket", Sheila (Lori's mother-in-law and the gracious hostess of our getaway weekend) riding "Princess".

More girls on horses.  Can you believe that sky?  We had perfect weather- warm but breezy with big fluffy clouds in a lazy blue sky and TONS of sunshine!

Lori and Annie Kate.  It is so weird and cool to see your old friend suddenly turn into the most wonderful mother right before your eyes.  Annie Kate is just the best thing ever.  All sass and attitude and yet so, so sweet.  She kept us on our toes. 

Sheila, Annie Kate, Erin and Lori with "Jenny" and "Alice".  Is it just me or are donkeys always really, really cute and funny?  
Maybe it's just me?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm Still Here

Life is really busy right now.  Work-life is super busy and at-home-life is super busy and even my weekends have been stuffed full lately.  Stuffed full of wonderful, absolutely.  But still.  Stuffed.  Full.  Having all this fun and thinking about big decisions and possible upcoming major life changes has just left me with very little time or energy lately for my usual musings.  Much less for writing and rambling on about my usual musings.  However, I'm still here and things are good.  I'm sure I'm making it sound like there is big news on the horizon and really there's not.  I'm just keeping up with life and thinking big thoughts.  And hoping to be back to the words-thing very soon.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Easter Weekend in Snippets

Road trip to Austin on Friday morning:  Bright sunshine, windows down, cool breeze, perfect music, Starbucks coffee.

Austin time with Hunter and Mom:  Mom is tiny and adorable.  Hunter's Bluetooth has become a permanent fixture to his head.  I am appalled.  Lunch at South Congress Cafe, followed by junk digging and a giant shared cupcake from the cupcake trailer across the street.  Good talks over bad coffee.  Abortive attempt to see Alice in Wonderland at the Drafthouse (sold out).  Dinner at Kerbey Lane instead almost makes up for it.  The length and pace of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford does not.  Should have known by the title, just typing it makes me tired.

The Austin Whole Foods Experience:  Went for a late breakfast.  Was paralyzed by over-stimulation and indecision.  Ended up with a delicious breakfast taco, some kind of digestive aid juice, agave nectar and whole grain pastry flour.  And a headache.  Too many people.  Too many choices.  Too much guilt.  Such a spectacle!

Walmart run the Day Before Easter:  No explanation necessary, right?

Art and Andrea's Wedding:  Beautiful vineyard in the Texas hill country.  Perfect weather.  Wonderful food.  A couple in love and a long time in the making.  We had to leave before the dancing and the cake, but we heard that was all good too.  Congratulations to the newlyweds!

The Bad Sunday School Teachers do Easter:  Forgot it was children's worship day.  Had an intense discussion about why Jesus is so much better than a Zombie King (he's actually ALIVE, yo!).  Got everyone (including ourselves) completely confused about why we say "He is Risen," rather than "He was Risen."  (Turns out its mostly based on an anachronism in the KJV before certain grammar rules were codified in English.  Didn't really need to know that?  Funny, neither did I.)  Child almost made me cry when he rejected the plastic dart gun he picked out as his prize.  (Keep in mind that I personally picked out all the prizes in the magic prize box and spent good money on them at Target.  Money that could have been spent on coffee and flaming hot cheetos.  Also, keep in mind that this child (along with all the other kids in our class) was getting a prize for no particular reason other than it's Easter Sunday and I'm a softy.  And that we'd already given them sparkly plastic eggs filled with candy.  And that I had already allowed this child to trade said dart gun away from another child who had it first.)  Child:  It doesn't shoot far enough!  Will you get me a better one?  But can I keep this one too?  And will you still get me a better one?  This one kind of sucks!  Me:  *faceplant*

That about sums it up.  Busy.  Glorious.  Sometimes hard.  Always exciting.  Such is our life.

On a side note:  Pray for my brother, please.  Pray specifically that he will know God heals and redeems and brings new life.  And that God has healing and redemption and new life for him, specifically for him.  Pray that he will remember that he matters.  Oh, how very much he matters!  I am afraid he has forgotten these things.  I am afraid he can't be whole without them.