Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Quick Dinner

I'm not a cook. I'm a baker.

But since my family can't live on cakes and pies (Why, I ask you, why?), occasionally I have to cook. Real food.


So in one of my handy-dandy quick recipe books, I found a new one to try tonight. It's Peppered Pork Chops and Pilaf. (Say that three times fast!)

It starts with pork chops, covered in seasoned pepper, cooked in a skillet.

Remove them from the heat, and add a can of chicken broth, 3 cups of cut veggies (I used broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and onions),
and 2 cups of uncooked instant rice. Boil it, cover it, reduce heat and simmer 5-7 minutes. Add the pork chops back in and heat until warmed through. Garnish with roasted red peppers strips.

Dinner is served!

This was pretty tasty. My hubby loved it, and my "I'm-almost-a-vegetarian" middle child ate like he hadn't seen food in a week!

I have to say that my favorite part was the roasted red peppers. YUM-MY!! I didn't notice that they were roasted right away. But, since I play by the rules, I had to roast them. Thank the good Lord for the internet - I learned how to roast them! (And you can too - see this.)


OK, so maybe that doesn't look too appealing. But trust me when I say it was delicious!!

That's what Works for Me today!

Monday, October 27, 2008

New 'Do Reveal

OK. I've started getting emails wanting to know which style I chose, so I guess I'd better fess up. I was hoping for a really good shot to show it off, but #1, I'm the subject so, no-go. #2, my camera batteries are dead. We'll just all have to settle for these! Please overlook the pasty whiteness that it is my face and the witch-nose I have in my profile :-)

Here goes!!

Short. Courtney Cox wins!

I think I did, too. My new stylist, Cara, is precious and I totally want to hook her up with my brother. (Seriously. Any ideas how? He can't go in for a trim because he SHAVES HIS HEAD.)

Anyway, apparently this is a cut that you either love or you hate. I say that because today at work I either heard, "That looks so good on you!" or my new 'do went completely unnoticed. Go figure...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Throwing Stones

Just in case I haven't mentioned it on my blog before, I hate politics. To the extent that I will leave the room if a discussion about it starts.

I personally believe that all the ads and stuff mean absolutely nothing. The ones saying "Vote for Me because..." are fluff. They say what we want to hear, so we'll elect them. Not that they can actually deliver what they promise, in most cases, without the backing of their Party, or the House, or Senate, or whoever else is involved.


Then there's the mudslinging, attack ads and smear campaigns. Taking snippets of past speeches and twisting them to fit their agenda. Pulling up old demons that have long been buried for the sole purpose of making the competition look bad.

More fluff.

How about just make yourself look better and leave it at that?

Ugh. I hate politics.

Then, how about we forget going after our competitor and go after their families instead? Yeah. That's SO much better.

I only bring all this up with the danger of starting a comments riot because I saw one of those attacks today. I was reading (for the first time) about Cindy McCain's past prescription drug addiction. So, it's over, it was years ago, it was a hard time for her and her family, so lets' just bring it back up and beat on her some more.

Usually, people like to hear about someone who is reformed.


Unless you're in the public eye. Then they seem to want you to fail!

Apparently, if your husband (or wife) is in line for a big political seat, you'd better not have any skeletons in your closet either, because they're gonna be pulled out, dusted off, and put on display.

I'm not endorsing any candidate here. I'm simply making a point. Luke 6:37 says, "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment." (The Message)

If you were the spouse of a political candidate, what skeletons would the press dig out of your closet?

Right. We won't talk about those here, will we?

John 8:7: "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."

Don't the rest of you just want to write all the newspapers and TV stations and remind them about throwing that first stone?

Regardless of the ability of politicians to push my buttons, I have to extend the same grace to them (and the press) that my Lord gives me. They may aggravate me to no end, but at the end of the day, if I can't step back and drop my stone instead of throwing it, I am no better than them.

Behavior like that is part of what gives Christians a bad name.

How about in this election year, we become the real change? We as children of God showing the world what that really means: love, forgiveness, mercy, acceptance and, of course, grace.

That might actually make me like politics.

Darn Dog!

Nothing beats walking barefoot through the house after scrubbing toilets and bathtubs than stepping in a Puppy Pee Puddle right in my kitchen floor!


Friday, October 24, 2008

ELECTION DAY! (No, not THAT one!)

Finally, after a week or two of waiting, I am getting a hair cut.

I cannot wait. It is way overdue.

Now, I have to decide just how to cut it. Look in my sidebar to see how it is now. (I'll wait.)

Then, vote between these two looks. Essentially, do I go short, or keep it long?

#1: The Courtney Cox look

#2: The Jessica Simpson (similar to what I have now)

My appointment is this afternoon. Vote, because I'm all democratic like that :-)

I'll have a big reveal, um, later :-)

Now GO VOTE!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not today!

Um, maybe I'll have time to post next week! :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How to Get Compliments 101

If after my last few posts you still find yourself in a funk, I have one more suggestion: bribe people do something nice for someone else.

I found this recipe for Cheese-and-Cherry Danishes a few weeks ago and finally decided to try it out. While I was at it, I figured that I might as well make a double batch and take some to my coworkers.

I assure you: if you take platters full of these

you will instantly be everyone's BFF. Not only that, but you will receive heaps of compliments, which does wonders for your mood :-) Here's a sampling of what I heard:

I thought those came from the bakery.
Can I have that recipe?

And my own personal favorite:
What a woman! Wanna marry me?

If none of my tips have succeeded at getting you over The Grumps by now, then my work here is done. Hire a professional. And when you go, take a few homemade danishes with you.

You can thank me later.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sharing the Load

I must admit, I'm a "do-it-yourself" kind of woman. Rarely do I let someone give me a hand, especially at work.

No, I'm good, really. I can handle it.

That's usually my mantra. But, it isn't always a good one to have. One day my boss offered to do something for me and, being the way that I am, I rebuffed her. "Beth, don't steal my joy. I want to do this for you."

Don't steal my joy.

I was taken aback by what she said, because I had simply never though of it that way. You know how we all get the "I-did-a-good-deed" high? Well, when you try to run the whole show, you take away someone else's opportunity to get that feeling.

While I've been working through The Grumps these past few weeks, her words have lingered in my mind.

So, while I'm Grumpy and don't really want help (or THINK I don't), I have let her help me with my workload. And you know what's happened?

I feel better because
#1: I let her feel helpful, which hopefully made her feel good.
#2: My load got lightened which was actually good for my mood (imagine that!).
#3: I had one less reason to complain about "having to do it all" when I got home.

You may not believe that letting someone come alongside you would do much to improve your attitude, but it really does. Her help gave me a bit of breathing room in an otherwise chaotic day. Deep down, I wanted the help. I just didn't want to ask for it. But it sure was nice when I got it!

What if no one is coming to your aide?

Psalm 118:7 says, "The LORD is with me; he is my helper." Even when you feel all alone in the world, God is there to help you, comfort you, encourage you...whatever your need, He can fill it.

Don't feel like you're imposing, either. He wants us to come to Him with our problems. Matthew 11:28-30 states that pretty clearly:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Oh, and when you let somebody chip in, don't forget to be thankful for the help :-)

I guess my Getting Over the Grumps Tip of the Day boils down to this:

Share the Load
Spread the Joy
and Lighten Up!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 - Poverty

I, as a 34 year old woman, can honestly say I have never experienced poverty. I have been abundantly blessed financially my whole life.

So what do I know about poverty?

I know that just because I have never lived through it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I know that as one individual I am powerless to eradicate it.

But I also know that I, as one person, can make a difference for someone who is unfortunate enough to endure it every day.


I sponsor a child through Compassion International, a child focused, church based, Christ centered ministry releasing children from poverty.

There are over 2,000 references to children and poverty in the bible. (Read some of them yourself here.) As a Christian, I have no choice but to help those less fortunate. Compassion offers a real-life way for me to reach out to someone in need.

My sponsorship dollars help fund a community center where basic needs are met for many children in the community. "My" child is given nutritious meals that her family probably cannot afford. She is educated. And she is taught about the love of God.

I can give her financial gifts throughout the year for birthdays and holidays, which is spent on things that she needs. I can even give a Family Gift that everyone in her household can benefit from, and not only her.

Poverty is everywhere, whether you see it up close and personal daily or not. You can make a difference.

Use these links to learn more about poverty and Compassion International:

Blog Action Day home page

Compassion International child sponsorship page

Child Sponsorship explained

Compassion International videos on YouTube

Today is a great day to start making a difference, one child at a time...


I must admit that I haven’t exactly been the happiest person to be around these days. (I promise that my husband will give that a resounding "AMEN!") While I can’t pin down the cause precisely, I do know how to move past it.


It’s a funny thing, because just yesterday I thought “Maybe I should start a gratitude journal.” I knew that focusing on the good would help me get out of my mood.

So, what do I stumble across today? More links. (Apparently I’m all about the linky love this week!) I found 7 Secrets to a Happy Heart, at just the right time. Imagine that :-) (I love it when God answers prayers so clearly!)

There's also the perpetual thanks offered by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. Just scroll through her old posts or go to the Gratitude Community and read a little about her gratitude...

So, I’m sharing the links with you today, just in case you’re like me and need a few tricks to get over a case of The Grumps!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Can someone please bottle this?

Dear Scented Candle Makers and other Inventor-types,

Could you please find a way to capture yesterday afternoon? You could probably find a way to make a scented candle that smells like fallen leaves and damp earth beside a lazy creek. But could you also figure out how to make me feel the warmth of the sun on my face, but at the same time feel the crispness of the breeze in my hair? Oh, and don't forget the "smoosh" sound of the overgrown grass beneath my feet. Throw in the "thud" the acorns make when they bounce through the branches and hit the ground, too. And somehow include some visuals like these:

I'll love you forever and buy your product by the truckload. Just let me know when my shipment is ready.

Thank you,
A Fall Fanatic

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Puppy Love

No, not that kind! Our doggie drama continues...

The new dog itch just wasn't gone, so we started looking at the local shelters for a dog that would fit with our family. We found one that was gorgeous in her photo, and we just knew she was the one.

Her shelter was an hour away, so finally last Sunday we made the trip to see her. She was so NOT the one. She wouldn't look at us, come near us, or in any way acknowledge our presence. Not exactly the warm-fuzzy-licks-you-to-death kind of dog I was hoping for. And her photo? Well, whoever took that photo was a magician! She looked terribly unhealthy in real life. I hope she finds a good home. It just won't be ours.

So we're leaving and the ladies at the shelter are like, "You didn't find one?" We shook our heads. "Well, we have one more that just came in. Let me go get him."

When she came through the door, all I saw was a little black puppy face with big brown eyes and I think I audibly said, "AWWWWW!"

We played with him for a few minutes, and all of the boys loved him, too. It was unanimous. We'd FINALLY found our dog.

We had to wait for him to get "fixed", so we couldn't bring him home until Thursday. (Another hour-each-way ride!) Well, now he's here. The shelter called him Buddy, which several of us originally wanted to change. But it just kind of suits him, so Buddy it is.

He is precious. He took a nap in my lap while I did my Bible study. He loves to be held, and petted, and played with. Aaron is great with him. Eli is still a little timid, but we'll work on it. The house training has a loooong way to go, but we'll get that eventually, too.

He lays on your feet, your shoes, his toys, whatever is handy. And he has claimed the "dump everything" corner where we toss our shoes as his own. He is too funny! And sooooo cute. Wanna see him? OK. :-)

(He does not really have blue eyes. They are dark brown.)

BONUS: He licks :-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Perspective

Unless you have been living under a rock (as I do most of the work week!), you've heard that our economy is a total nightmare. Actually, all over the world it's pretty ugly. Folks are freaking out about retirement accounts and mortgages, what banks are still in business....the list of doomsday topics could go on and on.

And to be honest, I did log on to my retirement account to see how much damage has been done up to this point. Yep, there's some there. But, I decided that I wasn't going to check it any more. What will it accomplish? It won't restore the balance. It won't bring stability to the world economy. Heck, it won't even bring peace to my house!

Since so many are affected and alarmed by the current state of affairs, people everywhere are talking about it. Thankfully, what I'm seeing isn't alarming at all - it's comforting! God is speaking to Christians left and right about what's going on. If you need an word of encouragement about the future right now, then go check out these posts. They'll give you a nice perspective going in to the holiday weekend (Oh, sorry - it's a holiday weekend for me, working for the government :-))

"Oh, no! Here we go again..." at Laced with Grace
The Stability of Our Times" at The Preachers Wife

Hallelujah it's Friday :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Taming My Tongue

I work with a fellow who suffered through a divorce a few years ago, and still hasn’t quite recovered. I know that in the depths of his hearthe is full of sadness, anger and confusion. I try to keep that in mind most of the time, because, quite frankly, he’s just become an ugly person. Insulting words spew from his lips daily. Complaints, demands, and cries of injustice have all become an integral part of his vocabulary.

Knowing his story, I can see Matthew 12:34-35 lived out in his life: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (NIV) He’s miserable and ugly inside, and it shows.

Face to face with him this week, he unloaded a barrage of verbal abuse on me. I simply let him speak, at which point he asked me, “Don’t you have a comeback or something?” To which I replied, “I’m not stooping to that level.”

Which was true for about three seconds. He blurted out something else rude, and I retaliated. I dredged up a mistake from his past and threw it right in his face. I felt vindicated for a moment. I spent the day reflecting on how awful he has become. “Can you believe those things he said to me?” I justified my behavior by comparing it to his.

The next morning when I read Matthew 12:37 I stopped right in my tracks: “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (NIV)

I read it over and over, unable to get past it.

My mouth spoke hurtful words, just like his. I was just as guilty as he was. And that was not a fun truth to learn.

We choose our words. We have control over what we speak. Taming my tongue is one of my biggest struggles, but it is one battle that I can win! One way is to internalize God’s word so that when we find ourselves in a potentially nasty situation, we have the weapons we need to win.

I need to memorize that verse that jumped off the page at me. I need to be mindful that while I will be rewarded for the good words I use and the God messages that I share, I will also be condemned for the rotten ones that I use.

How are you doing with your words?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saturday Silliness, on Sunday :-)

I meant to start posting random silly stuff on Saturdays, but it totally slipped by me yesterday. So, a day late and a dollar short, here's the first installment. Although, since I had a brain lapse about this very post, I'm not sure these results are accurate these days :-)

Without further adieu: What Superlative Are You?

Edited to add: In case you can't see it, I Would Be Voted "Biggest Brain"

You Would Be Voted Biggest Brain

In school, you were very serious about getting good grades and studying.

You may have thought that no one noticed you, but people did know how smart you were.

You were often at the head of your class, and people respected your intelligence.

And it's likely that all your studying eventually did pay off!

Friday, October 3, 2008


You know how you sometimes see the same verse over and over, and then suddenly one day it looks completely different? That just happened to me. All my life I’ve heard Matthew 5:13 telling us how we are like salt.

I never got it.

I mean, I fundamentally understood what it was trying to say. But I didn’t get it.

Enter my handy-dandy two-translation Bible and Viola! A fresh word! (I love it when that happens!) My Bible has both the NIV and The Message in it. Here’s the NIV translation of Matthew 5:13:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “

And then here’s The Message translation:

“Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”

Eureka! It makes sense! How cool is that?

I always knew that salt enhances food – it makes things taste better. I got that correlation. But just how did that relate to me as a Christian? What exactly was I enhancing?

God. The Message says that we bring out the "God-flavors of the earth." Not that He needs us to make Him look better, but He has chosen to give us this purpose anyway. He is using us, His children, to draw others to Himself. Let me say it again: how cool is that?

But did you catch the last part? If we’re not enhancing God, we are of no use. Ineffective. A waste of time.

I don’t know about you, but I know how that makes me feel -- can somebody please pass the salt?!?!


(PS: More Doggie Drama - we're going to check out a puppy Sunday - pray that if she's the one for us we will ALL be in love with her! Thanks!!)


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