Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Advantages to Cleaning My Room

I was getting ready to throw away a piece of paper. Until I read the back. There, I found a list of things which have the potential to change my life.

The list is called "Forms of Dying." It is by John Piper. It caught my eye because I know someone who is dying. Then it caught my eye because of how very much this list needs to apply to me.

Here it is. May it be a blessing to you.

Forms of dying:
-dying to the desire for an untroubled life
-Having no jealousy means dying to the desire for unshared affection.
-Not boasting means dying to the desire to call attention to our successes.
-Not acting unbecomingly means dying to the desire to express our freedom offensively.
-Not seeking our own way means dying to the dominance of our own preferences.
-Not being easily provoked means dying to the need for no frustrations.
-Not taking account of wrongs means dying to the desire for revenge.
-Bearing all things and enduring all things means dying to the desire to run away from the pain of obedience.

From a sermon called "The Greatest of These is Love" delivered on June 25, 1995.

More sermons and resources at Desiring God.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I Was Right

I didn't think there would be much time this week to do anything but Fiddle Camp. I was right. The week was great and is now even better since my 32 hour headache has gone away.

Here are some things I did this week that I have never done before:
1. Make a pasta salad for 40 people

2. Make a taco salad for 40 people

3. Make O'Henry Bars, rice crispie bars, apple kuchen bars and brownies for 40 people.

4. Work with a fantastic group of women who all pitched in at the last minute and made numbers 1,2 and 3 possible.

5. Use pots and pans that were bigger than I am.

6. Order 17 pizzas for the 65 people we had at our house last night.

Here are some things I did not do last week:

1. Fold laundry

2. Vacuum

3. Cook for any members of my family

4. Obsess about my Ethiopian daughter

5. Blog

Click here for a link to Brian Wicklund/Fiddlepal. If you want to hear a really fun fiddle player, buy his CD "Big Twang." Or come to fiddle camp next year. There will be plenty of food to go around.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


We've tried to be a Pet Friendly Family: started with cats. Had a baby, shaved the cats, gave away the cats. Had more children, got a rabbit. Liked the rabbit, rabbit had babies. Rabbit had babies with her babies. Gave them all away. Got a guinea pig. Liked the guinea pig. Moved it with us to Minnesota, guinea pig had seizures, buried it in our yard.

Got a hamster. Liked it. Had it escape several times. Found it on the lap of Emma's American Girl doll. Kind of cute, kind of creepy. Hamster looked sort of flattish one morning. Died soon after. Buried it in the yard.

Got a dog. Liked it.... for maybe a day. Chewed things, bit things, yapped, barked, whined, pottied, ran away, smelled bad. 8 days later, gave it to our neighbor's grandma.

We are now petless. But I have been to a hobby farm. I have now felt new hope rise in me that we do like animals, we just haven't found the right one yet. I think part of the problem was that we've had housepets. Those 2 words do not go together for me. It's like having an indoor firepit. The other part of the problem is that we have had un-useful pets: none of them could pull things around, none of them could do yard work, none of them could make anything to eat unless we killed the thing and ate it. Which kind of defeats the purpose of a pet.

Meet The Pygmy Goat:
I could pull things, like a stick or two, out of the woods.
I might pull a small child in a cart so you could get important things done.
I wouldn't trample you if you came close to me.
I make cheese.

So, hope springs eternal. Because it just seems like good people also need to like animals. Plus, I wouldn't spend $4.89 on a tiny little log of goat cheese. I could just walk out the back door and....make some.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My New Job

Next week at this time, I will have spent 2 days as a Fiddle Camp Cook and Coordinator. (FCCC) This week, at this time, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed: how many cantelope does one need for 40 people? when will I put Zeke to bed? will a rogue hair fall into the Toll Oat Bars that are being made for the first morning? 

I expect there will be a significant lag in postings. 

Good news of the week: my boys' haircuts look really great and I got a lot of homeschooling prep done.

Monday, June 15, 2009

To What Will I Go Home?

We were in the car yesterday. My plan for today is to be gone for almost 12 hours in order to plan our year of homeschooling. Joel turned to me and said, "You know what I think I'll get tomorrow? A razor." 

"For you?" I ask.

"No, the kind of razor that Vern uses on the boys."

Vern is a gentle, experienced barber whom I have considered worth $45 every 10 weeks to turn my puffy, shaggy boys back into little men. 

Joel is a gentle, inexperienced barber who does not consider our boys' hair to ever be worth $45. 

"Do you know what you're doing?" I ask. 

"I've spent the last several years watching him. It can't be that tough," says Joel with a vision.

So, I relent. I put in my little "two cents" about the number of blade I remember Vern using and some advice about leaving their hair a little longer on the top. 

The last time we did something like this, we had our cats shaved. We were tired of their long hair, we had just had a baby, the cats fell victim to my nesting instincts. The outcome of having one's cats shaved is threefold: debilitating laughter, cats who hide, and cats who do not recognize each other (despite having been together for 3 years). I'm wondering if there will be any carryover to the boys.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I met a friend to go out for coffee. The coffee shop was near Waite Park as was A Store of Wonderment to Me: Crafty Planet. It was incredible. The fabrics were things I wanted to wear and decorate the house with. There were knitted hats, diaper bags, flowy shirts all from material that looked like it came from Pottery Barn/Ikea/A Preppy Part of Finland/I don't know where because, as you may have guessed, I have never seen anything like it.

So, last night I was full of ideas which have now overflowed to my daughters who want to take a sewing lesson there. And that's where my motivation stops. I really don't want to sew, I really don't want to take a class, I just want the really cool stuff that can be sewn. 

That made me think, "What would I do if I had the chance to be crafty/decorative, even if I had to take a class?" And I know: I'd build a retaining wall. I don't even know what I'd retain exactly, but maybe I could spruce it up with hand sewn lumpy cool throw pillows when it was done.

If you're wondering, there is no news on the adoption front. I think about it all the time but that doesn't really count. That's why I think about retaining walls.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I don't usually amaze myself, but today changed ALL that. People all over the world do this every day, many times a day, but I....I have just stepped out into a new world.

Marty: "I'll take a half caff latte with a shot of toffee nut."
Marty: "Sure. Would you like some foam on top with a little design that's almost a heart?"
Marty: "You know, I would. And how much will this cost?"
Marty: "Oh, about $.33"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Milestone

Today my husband is running around and around and around Lake Nokomis. It's his first 24 hour run that started at 8 this morning and ends, yes, at 8 tomorrow morning. The kids and I went to see him once. We cheered him on, the boys ran with him, I made sure his eyes were tracking and he recognized me. 

We came home, short on gas, food and patience. I sat down to plan out a lovely afternoon when the phone rang. "Mom, it's Dad."

It was 49 degrees and raining today. I knew why he was calling. Within 45 minutes I was back in the car with dry clothes, headed back to Lake Nokomis. 

I had a good 3 minutes with Joel before I had to go. It was time to see Addis graduate from high school. In order to get to her graduation, I had to drive past Children's Hospital. Only a year ago, if I had wanted to see Addis, that's where I would have gone. Tonight I got to see her walk across the stage. 

I'm including a picture from tonight--me a little wild eyed and in clothes that were very appropriate for the library, the bank, Bruegger's Caribou, Lake Nokomis and Lake Nokomis again. Graduation...not so much. Oh well. Addis makes up for it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Levi's Question

During our garage sale, a lot of people asked about our adoption plans. They also asked if we had adopted before. I told them yes, we had one adopted daughter. Levi was standing there and turned to me with huge eyes. 

"Gracie?" he said. "She's adopted?" 

There's a lot I like about that question.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weird Things I've Said Today

I think, that when I imagined parenting, I would be sort of Ivy-Leagueish in my conversations with and behavior toward my children. I don't even know exactly what that would look like except that the words dignified, sophisticated and upscale come to mind. 

But here were the two questions I asked today:

1. "Does anyone know where the yodeling pickle is?"

2. "Gracie, find out whose toothbrush Zeke is using. I know it's not his."

I'm pretty sure those questions alone cancelled the Ivy League Imaginings I had. Good thing those imaginings were, oh, 16 years old.