Monday, July 27, 2009

A Good Hair Day

Warning!!! If you can't stomach a little vanity in good humor, you might want to skip today's entry! I'm just being real here, so if you're game, take this in the good spirit in which it is intended and read on!

Never underestimate the power of a good hair day! Personally, the older I get, the more things like good hair days mean to me. Face it, your hair is about the only thing that can be better on some days than others. All of your other attributes you're pretty much stuck with. They age and may even age well, but they don't surprise you with delightful and unusual cooperation day to day. I mean, my eyes are pretty much always the same, as are my lips. And I have yet to experience a perky little nose day. No it's always long and pointy regardless of humidity levels, wind, or the type of conditioner I use. But, thank God, every once in a while I get the thrill of an especially nice hair day!

It never fails that if I do get a good hair day, I have absolutely no where to go. No one gets to see my perfectly coifed head except maybe my family. And I don't fool myself by thinking that any of them even notice. So today I'm sharing my good hair with you!

What's a good hair day to you? Good hair for me means it's not frizzed with humidity, it doesn't look like Betty Boop, the gray takes on a silvery sheen instead of a flat metallic hue, and there's just enough height to do Texas proud but not so much as to make Arizonans stare! It means it swings naturally but it still keeps its shape. And I look more blonde than I really am. That's mighty fine hair!

It's actually pretty easy to have good hair here in Arizona. That is indeed one of the perks of living out here in the desert. My friend Ed who lives in New York recently travelled out to Phoenix to a football game. When he returned to New York he told his wife Anna, my college roomate, that all the women in Arizona have the same, wonderful hair. Now to me that's pretty amazing when an ex-football player even notices women's hair and the quality thereof.

So, having a good hair day today and once again having no where to go (legitimately, that is) to show it off, I decided to take some pictures and share it with the three of you who read this blog. My daughter Abigail was horrified and I suppose I would be too if she did the same. But, c'est la vie! I'm having a good hair day. And that, my friend, is a blessing!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bluebirds in Bright Orange Shirts

I had the joy and privilege of working a little with our church's youth group this past week. Perhaps "working" is the wrong term. They actually did a lot of work, but I did very little.

Our youth conducted a 4 day missions effort right here in Sierra Vista this week. Approximately 21 of them took free bread and batteries (9 volt for the smoke detectors) to homes right around our church and offered to pray with the residents. They also washed cars for free, made repairs and did yard work at the homes of about 14 senior adults, took cookies to the local fire departments and prayed with them, and prepared and served a nice lunch for our senior adults. They were really busy!

I simply led the kids in a daily Bible study - something I hadn't done with youth in about 16 years, other than my weekly teenaged girls small group. I was a little intimidated by the prospects of trying to relate to these kids each morning, but I was pleasantly surprised. My worries were for naught! The kids soaked up the Bible lessons each day and made me feel like they were actually enjoying it. What a relief and a blessing. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to spend such great time with them. These are 21 of the finest kids I've ever met. I wasn't with them 24 hours a day like our youth minister Dennis and his lovely assistant Erika were, but I saw enough of them to know that they got along beautifully, worked hard, and loved every minute of their challenging week. I must confess, each morning I headed to the church expecting them to be dragging and complaining and even bickering with each other. But they weren't doing any of those things! Every morning and even when the week ended Thursday afternoon, these kids were acting like they were really enjoying one another. God bless their sweet hearts. We adults could learn a thing or two!

These are simply a few pictures I snapped at the Senior Adult luncheon they prepared and served at our church. As you can see, they were serving with all they had and the seniors were loving it. The theme of the week was "What's 'N Your Serve?" I'll tell you what's in these kids' serve - good attitudes, servant hearts, sacrifice, love, and team work! Talk about some lovely bluebirds. This week I saw some of the loveliest bluebirds I've ever seen and they were all wearing bright orange shirts!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Sandwiches

For some reason I am in a summer sandwich craze! I have a few sandwich recipes that I just love to make and eat during the summer and recently I went to the grocery store to buy the fixings for all of them. So that's what my family is eating right now - sandwiches.

Here are the recipes for two of my favorites:

Ham & Cucumber Croissant (the recipe makes one sandwich - you do the math for how many you want to make!)
3 slices thin deli ham
1 large croissant
2 tablespoons chive & onion light cream cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 2 tsp. horseradish (depending on taste)
approx. 10 slices of cucumber

Mix cream cheese, garlic and horseradish together. Spread onto both sides of split croissant. Put three slices of ham on bottom slice of croissant. Top with slices of cucumber. Eat up! It's cool and refreshing with a kick!

Turkey & Pesto on Ciabbatta Bread
2 slices of mesquite smoked turkey sliced thin
1 ciabbatta bun (ask at your bakery in the grocery store)
2 tablespoons pesto (I make mine, but store bought is fine)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 slice provolone cheese
1 - 2 slices fresh tomato

Split open the ciabbatta bread. Place provolone cheese on one side of bread and put both sides under the broiler of your oven just long enough to warm and slightly toast the cheese. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise and the pesto. Spread mayo/pesto mixture onto other side of toasted ciabbatta. Top with two slices of turkey and fresh tomato. Warm and bursting with summertime flavor!

We're also eating good ol' BLTs, French dips, and tuna on rye at my house. These, accompanied by some fruit and pretzels, are the tastes of summer to me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just a little tip

I've never shared this with anyone until today when my 15-year-old daughter Abby went with me to the grocery store. I usually go grocery shopping by myself. I'm ok with that because I love, love, love the grocery store. I tend to spend way much time and money there. But that is not what I've never told anyone. Many people know this weakness of mine.

As I pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store today, I told Abby my bright idea about where to park. It is my theory that when grocery shopping with a cart as opposed to a little carry basket, one should always park not near the doors, but near the grocery cart return dowappy. I certainly need the exercise of walking a long way from my car to the store and back again, but I hate having to hunt for a cart dowappy once I am through unloading my groceries into my car. Thus, I always park near one. I personally think this is a brilliant tip, but I have hesitated to tell others about it because I don't want them to take all the parking places near the cart dowappies. As it is, these spaces are generally easy to find right now because most people waste their time parking near the store then having to hunt for a place for their buggy. I personally can't stand it when there isn't a dowappy anywhere near my car and I end up walking the buggy back to the store. That is a huge waste of my time!

Yeah, I'm a pretty shallow person. But efficient, too. Got any bright tips like this to share? Please do, just remember they have to be silly, inconsequential, and completely nonessential. That's pretty much the categories all of my bright ideas fall into.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Don't You Just Love Index Cards?

I have a wild affinity for simple index cards. While the rest of the world is now organizing their life on electronic gadgets and cyberspace calendars, I continue to put everything I can think of on plain index cards. No, I don't calendar my day, week or life on them, but most of the events that eventually end up on my calendar do begin on index cards - more on that later.

I've learned that index cards have been around for over 100 years and the theories behind them even longer than that. Indexing began with the monks of medieval times when they attempted to organize the subject matter in books by using some sort of symbol that pointed to a subject reference on a page and then later "indexing" that material in the back of the book in what we now know as the Index. But the reason it is called an index is because the symbol used to "point out" the subject reference on a page was named for the finger you usually use to point out things - the index finger. We, of course, use sticky notes for this same sort of purpose and, instead of calling them index notes, we call them sticky notes because they are sticky! But I digress...

Later in the 1870s when Melvil Dewey attempted to index not just the subject matters in a book but the books in a library, he invented a card catalog system that used 3x5 cards for the same purpose the monks had used their index markers. Thus these 3x5 cards used to index information became what we call index cards. Aren't you so glad you now know this important information? I am because I love index cards!

What do I do with index cards, you ask? Here are a few of my favorite uses for the 3x5 or 4x6 varieties:

1. Of course I use them for recipes. Who doesn't just love a good recipe on an index card? And it doesn't have to be one of the cute ones made just for that domestic purpose. Any old index card will do for me. I don't keep my recipe cards in a cute little recipe holder any more. I'm not that organized. I keep a notebook of recipes I use most often, so if I write a recipe on an index card it just gets shoved into the handy side pockets of that notebook. Still, I love a recipe written on an index card because it is not so big that it takes up too much room on your kitchen counter and it's a good size to share with a fellow cook.

2. As I mentioned before, many of my to-do dates show up first on an index card. I keep a stack of them in the top left drawer of my office desk and when I learn of appointments or lunch dates via e-mail or a telephone call I record them on a card. Then, later when I am through with my work for the day, I take the card to the kitchen where I keep my calendar and transfer the information. Otherwise I would be hopping up and down from my desk all day to write in lunch dates, gynecologist appointments, dentist appointments, praise team rehearsals, etc. on my calendar, giving me just one more reason to avoid my work. I do not need another reason to avoid my work. I already have a very handy 232 of them. And why do I not keep my calendar in the office by my phone and computer? Because I just don't; that's why!

3. When I teach women's Bible studies I always begin the session by asking the women to fill out an index card for me with all their vital information: name, address, phone, e-mail, birthday, shoe size (not really!) etc. I do this on a 4x6 variety because women have lots of information. I also ask if they mind praying in public, if they have children in the nursery, and what other Bible studies they've taken recently. I put these all important cards in a 4x6 photo album for each class and, voila, I have a class roll with everything I need! I take these albums and make e-mail mailing lists from them and sell them for big bucks - again, not really! I do make e-mail mailing lists for myself and use them to contact my ladies whenever I need to. Handy dandy!

4. But my most favorite use for index cards is much more important to me and the very reason that I love them so. I love to write Bible verses on index cards. This year I have compiled a set of 14 scripture passages on index cards that I have put to memory! Beth Moore has sponsored a scripture memory challenge on her LPM Blog where we select a scripture of our own choice to memorize on the 1st and 15th of every month. I learned from her years ago the effectiveness of writing your memory verse on an index card, putting it in a small photo album and rehearsing your set of verses every day, meditating on them and memorizing them as you go. So I am pleased to say that I have kept up with the LPM challenge and I have stored all these scriptures in my heart where they are already doing me some mighty good!

5. Along those same lines, I gather scriptures for the Bible studies I write and the messages I speak and put those on index cards as well. Each Bible study or message gets its own photo album and I wear that thing out as I work on building the message or writing the study. I don't just do this so I have the scriptures handy. I do it so I can learn from the scriptures as I go over them and meditate on them. I want God to teach me and change me so I can write and teach from what He's first done in my own life. And for that reason perhaps more than any other, I love my index cards. For you see they have become somewhat of an agent of change and growth in my life. They represent the work that God is most currently doing in my heart, my attitudes, and my behavior. They are personal between me and the Almighty God of the universe. They are "our thing."