Friday, February 15, 2008

An Engagement!

February has been the month of -Flu 2008. It waltzed into our home for New Years and has been here ever since! Though I don't normally get sick this bug stuck to me like glue for four weeks! I am so glad to be feeling better.
Yikes, am I ready for spring. February brought much more than the flu thankfully. February brought a winter formal, winter camp (twice) and a snow trip which I missed because I stayed home with Six guessed it, had the flu! Not that I minded at all, I am definitely the -I'll watch the hot chocolate and blankets while you all play in the snow kind.

February also brought us an engagement! Four of Eight is now engaged to her boyfriend (fiancĂ©e) Brandon, whom we adore, and wedding plans are in the air. Watching your girls (all my girls, Destiney) get dressed up in wedding gowns is a feeling like no other. All those years of playing dress up all lead up to this! Speaking of weddings, we are also planning my parent’s 5oth wedding anniversary for March. They moved out of the area about six years ago so Basque food is definitely on the menu. For those of you that have never had Basque food you don't know what you are missing! It is filling and the atmosphere lends itself well to family gatherings.

One of ei
ght finally comes home in March for good! This is the real thing. He has been overseas eight times and each holiday has been overshadowed by the impending knowledge that there was a deployment looming somewhere ahead. Not this time! The only thing this man has asked for is a Thanksgiving dinner-which of course he missed being in Afghanistan - so I am putting on the fatted bird with all of the fixings. We will pass around the jar of Indian corn and share what we are thankful for. I am sure many of the answers will be the same. Thank you sweet Lord for bringing our, son, brother, husband, son-in-law, brother-in- law, and friend home!
I truly did try to keep the Christmas tree up for him too but the dog (the afore mentioned Border collie/ yard renovator) chewed through the string of lights. :(
I cannot put into words how thankful I will be to have One home and safe. Just seeing a soldier in uniform at the car wash last week turned me into a puddle. I know this is a homecoming many parents won't experience! My heart goes out to them, their lives will never be the same.

As February morphs into March, cold into warmth, frosty into flowers, I hope to savor each of these special moments and enjoy each one. Even the Flu of 2008 that slowed us down (way down) and helped us focus on serving each other.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Interior Decorating and Hospitality

If you are at all like me you put off the Biblical mandate to be hospitable because your home is not...well...up to standard. A standard you have set for yourself or perhaps the standard you have set is one of other people's perceptions of your home.
I have cleaning to do, rooms to paint, carpet to pull up and a yard recently renovated by a Border Collie that needs a nothing less that a miracle to resemble the yard I had last summer.
A good friend and I were talking recently about the desire we both share to improve in the area of hospitality. My friend is much, much, better in the area of opening her home than I am, so I was surprised when she confided that she struggles with many of the same feelings I do.
There is more to being hospitable than having a clean or well decorated house. I have a friend years ago that never let anyone through her front door because she says her house isn't clean. Another spends an exorbitant amount of time cleaning but she doesn't entertain because -she's cleaning. Most of us fall somewhere in between as far as our housekeeping skills.
To make another comparison I have two friends that model hospitality well. The first had a gorgeous home beautifully decorated the allows groups of jr. high kids to move freely about their home on a regular basis with no concern to their beautiful decor. "It's just stuff" my friend reminds me.
Another friend opens her modest home up regularly. My fondest Christmas memories are spent here, eating or singing Christmas carols, elbow to elbow around tables -that have in the past been sheets of plywood covered with a simple table cloth-with a candle for decoration. Of course having a tidy home is important but hospitality is much more. All of us have been in nice homes that have felt cold and lifeless. Hospitality is about ministering to the spirit of the inhabitants of our home and our guests.
Let me challenge you with this wonderful quote by Edith Schaeffer, "
Interior not just one's artistic efforts, but it is that which you home ( even if it is just a room) is. If you are 'decorating' with clothes draped on every chair, with scratched and broken furniture- it is still your interior decoration! Your home expresses you to other people, and they cannot see or feel your daydreams of what you expect to make in that misty future, when all of the circumstances are what you think they must be before you will find it worthwhile to start. You have started, whether you recognize that fact or not.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Food Prices

You would certainly have to be a hermit not to realize food prices are going up daily. My trip to Sam's Club last night was shocking! I would love to hear how some of you are saving money.Part of my job as CEO and head purchasing agent is to come up with recipes that are fun andnutritious. My personal goal is to make hospitality a ministry. All of these things are going to take more forethought and planning than ever before.I am trying to save money by:1) Reducing the number of trips out. It seems besides the obvious extra gas usage trips out seem to incur additional costs or purchases.2) Eliminate eating out. Besides the rising cost of this "convenience" the nutritional value of take out food is horrendous. It is not wise to train our taste buds to these types of foods.3) Planning a menu and making and itemized grocery list. I have not started a price book but do estimate the cost of each item on my list.4) Use cash. You can spend what you don't have.5) Deal with food as soon as you come home. I cut meat and vacuum seal it before freezing. I find when I do this I usually have "extra" meat to bank in the freezer.6) I don't usually do once a meal cooking anymore but I do "bank' food by fixing large batches or duplicating entree's.7) I try to choose seasonal foods when I can to save money.8) Gardening even if it is one or two items your family particularly likes, such as tomatoes.9) Think outside the box. For example left over steak or tri-tip makes great enchiladas, and cabbage is traditional in some places for tacos. Use what you have. I cannot tell you how many times something has gotten lost in my refrigerator or freezer instead of being used.Here are some fun blogs you might enjoy.Tawra Kellam writes the Living on a Dime newsletter and always has great money saving tips.On her blog you will find a formula for putting together a casserole. Dollar stretcher is the best resource on the web for saving money. if like me you would like to stretch your 'hospitality wings' head over to Sandy's site and be inspired!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Comment on Camp Understatment

I have been meaning to post this comment from an Anomymous poster to my post on Camp Understatment.
Anonymous said...
Quote: I am a seeker. The more I seek the more I am drawn to the truth that has always been there.Well here you go!Camp Faraway is next to the civilian air terminal in Kandahar, Afghanistan. it's also situated on what was an uncleared minefield (the netherland bit technically still is..) it was built early 2006 by 39 engr regiment royal engineers from waterbeach, UK.It was named by 60 hq and sp Sqn (Air Sp) from that regiment.our troop made the sign.