Saturday, February 28, 2009

Every girl's dream


MeiLin is in love ... with horses. She draws them, collects them, wears them on her shirts and necklaces and now rides them. Here are a few pictures of her on Harmony. She normally rides Baron, but he has an injury right now. Her instructor says she is doing well, learning the basics, including how to be assertive with a 1000 lb animal.
(Hmm...the video is sideways...not sure if I can fix that!)




video

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A New Camera and a Message



Our new camera came yesterday. Here are some test photos and a message to Aunt Mandy in Namibia.







video

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lent

Lent is coming. I am puzzled as to why so many Protestant denominations skip over Lent or give it only a cursory treatment through some color changes, flowers and maybe a reminder to prepare for Easter. The monastic and Catholic tradition seems more fitting, giving us time to move from winter to spring, death to life, sacrifice to celebration. Otherwise, it happens so quickly -- 3 days and we are done. Given the importance of Easter to our faith, why do we shortchange the preparation? My suspicion is that we have lost the patience and discipline (or the desire to cultivate either).

The typical preparations for Lent today include prayer, denying oneself something: food, festivities, things and performing acts of penance or charity--all good ideas anytime of the year, we suspect.

Mike and I consciously are working out how to make Lent real for the girls--we've introduced the concept, which they seem to have grasped pretty quickly, particularly the giving up. However, the spirit of the idea might be a little challenging. MeiLin declared that she thought she would give up buying stuff for herself, instead buying stuff for her sister.

For me, I've decided this year I need to focus on others at a practical level. As a result, I'm resolved to not only resist buying unnecessary items (do I really need that pair of jeans on sale or new lipstick?) while also recycling/passing on one item every day that I simply don't use or don't need. I want to find a home for these items. I'll let you know how it goes.

Begin here with me, God.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Care Package #2

Care package #2 is soon to be mailed to my sis in Africa. I'm not sure the contents interest most people, but I know my sis would like to know what will be coming her way in 3 weeks. I do love Sierra Trading Post--wonderful prices, great sales and I don't even have to go to the mall.

My scale is still broken, so I need to lug this over to the post office to weigh. Hopefully the package is under 20 lbs or something will have to removed.


The clothing set - 2 camisoles, 2 skirts and 3 blouses. It is summer there!


A Bible, book of poems, book on reading poetry, sidewalk chalk, pencils, notepads and gum from the girls for Aunt Mandy's students.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Return of the Hungry Wolf

One of the blog emails I receive took me this week to an article on how to feed a military family of four on $50 a week. Much of the author's advice hinged on buying in bulk, using a freezer and taking advantage of sales/special coupons--all sensible steps to curb the food bill in this depressed economy.

And yet, my spirit cried out "no, not the frozen vegetables stockpiled for all year". I have been re-reading John Thorne's wonderful and slow meander through food, Simple Cooking. Thorne reminded me why I love food and what is so good about it. Pre-made, frozen and preservatives are not part of what I love, in case you don't know.

Earlier this week at lunch time, I contemplated what to have. I had 1/2 a small loaf left from Macaroni Grill, a restaurant that despite being a chain makes a rather good rosemary olive oil loaf. I split the loaf and toasted it in the oven with a slice of provolone cheese. I then sauteed spinach and mushrooms in a green olive oil (lovely) and made a lovely Italian sandwhich. It was satisfying deep down.

MFK Fisher wrote much during the leaner war times of the 1940s about growing food, obtaining food and eating well within shortages and lack of money to dine out or go to Whole Foods (or the equivalent at the time--a trip to Paris?). The girls and I will be planting a very small garden in the back patio area this summer ... a new victory garden perhaps? And, I shall pull out Fisher's book How to Cook a Wolf and consider what an updated version might be, recipes that provides good food without resorting to the frozen section for a 6 month supply of corn or a case of ravioli in a can.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Tests

the pull of your lip on
new zigzag teeth and
glint of the almost-tear in
your eye

i see it of course--
the nervousness
the worry--
others don't but
they aren't tuned

you tilt your head left
meet the test
look it in the eye
(i would have shied away)

passing
failing
of course it matters
not as much thought as
staying not bolting

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Loving the pieces of life


As a mom, this picture is bittersweet. MeiLin broke her arm the first day of first grade this year.

By the time I picked her up at school, she was in shock and alternated between crying quietly, moaning and unconsciousness.

But, she was brave...more so than I thought she could be...and strong. And, yet, she completely needed us to be there, to love her, to surround her.

Our kids do much to surprise us. The only guarantee in parenting seems to be that we must daily reset our expectations.

MeiLin's arm is healed now and she cherishes the bear the hospital nurse gave her. I cherish these photographs snapped with my cell phone. I know that someday soon she will be grown and we won't be as needed for awhile. The memories will remain...and maybe even that blankie!