Sunday, June 29, 2008


Aly and I made salsa the other day. It was so fun using my birthday present early. My b-day is July 4th for those of you who don't know it. I am one of those men who if they see something they want they buy it themselves making it a lot harder for choosing a present for me. So, I went ahead and searched eBay for a food processor and won one for a great price and a new one at that. A Cuisinart and it works great. Of course the only reason I want it is to make salsa. Shelley may be the one who gets the most use out of it, but she wants one of those Vita mix thingies and they are super expensive. So unless we win the lottery or a rich relative dies and leaves us lots of dough ( and I don't mean the flour kind ) we will have to do with a blender and a my new Cuisinart.
Anyway, making our salsa was a fun job. Aly of course wanted to put everything in the processor and I was of course impatient and so we compromised on me cutting up the veggies and her putting them in. She wanted to operate the processor but I talked her out of it by mentioning that this was MY birthday present and it was only right that I should get to operate it by myself at least this first time. She agreed.

Salsa is one of those fun things you can use as an analogy for so many situations in life. I am choosing to relate it to our lives at any given moment. ANY ones life at any given moment. Take for instance our President George W. Bush. Isn't his life a constant example of salsa? No pun intended on the ethnic origin of the dish either. He is surrounded by all sorts of vegetables and spices and vinegar and herbs that are all trying to have their say in the mix of his decision making. And they all have their right to input however, some of them are more important than others. Like VP Dick Cheney would probably be the green peppers, and Secretary of State, Condolesa Rice would be an onion. Of course G.W. is the tomatoes. All the other herbs and spices, etc would be the other advisers that go into the mix. Hopefully a well balanced mix that turns into a very delicious concoction that pleases the senses especially the taste.

I know my life has certainly been a big bowl of salsa for a while now. I have had lots of different input by lots of spices and herbs in my world. I would have to say that my girls and Shelley would be my green peppers and onions. I of course am the tomatoes. In my salsa making experiences I have tried lots of different things to distinguish it from others I have tried. I have been successful and there have been times I have not. I think the one item I have discovered which doesn't necessarily distinguish it from others but is a mandatory item for me to consider it complete is cilantro. Not dried cilantro but fresh cilantro. And not too much, just the right amount that gives that extra special, yummyness to it. That and a secret ingredient that you might get Aly to tell you if you are ever around us when we are making it.
She reminds me of the dog on that baked bean commercial. You know, Duke who wants to tell everyone the secret family recipe. Aly would "spill the beans" so to speak. It is a common item but perhaps you never would have thought to add this to your recipe. If you have one.
Anyway, we made salsa. And the Cilantro? Well, it is my analogy for God. You see the salsa is not right unless it has His input, Hhis "spice" to our lives. And just the right amount. Not over done and not too little. ( we can argue later about whether or not you can get too much of God ).

I just know that without Him, my salsa is not complete.
How about you.
Made any salsa lately?


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Welcome Changes

My little 2 1/2 year old took a nap today while laying on my chest. As I think back on the time I remember wanting to be able to recall all of the emotion wrapped up in that special time so I could post it here for others to read but so that I could read it again and again. It was a wonderful experience that I had known before however this time was different.

I was different.

Lili had come to sleep with us last night which is a highly unusual event. We have tried it before mind you and it usually ends up with me cussing and Shelley saying "I told you so". I was the one who wanted to each time because of my guilty feelings of having Aly spend so much time with us. She has slept with us quite a bit of her young life and I feel that there is a special bond with us because of that. Of course there is a special bond with us because she is our first and a lot of other "firsts" that we have shared with her. And I was trying to satisfy that guilty feeling that perhaps we have not given enough of ourselves to Lili. Although there are other ways in which we have bonded with Lili that are different from our bonding with Aly. I guess it's a normal emotion.

Regardless, I remember Shelley bringing her into our room last night and putting her in the bed with us and she had had a "bad dream", so she was all too happy to be in our bed. Usually she likes to play and chatter box and gets herself awake until she just will not be quiet and calm down and go to sleep. Generally speaking she does not like sleeping with us and prefers her crib so that she can cover her head up and arrange her "posse" of stuffed animals and dolls for her morning parties. However, last night she climbed in the bed and smiled and covered up and settled down and we said our "good nights" again and she was off to visit the "sand man", thank God.

She awoke at the crack of dawn to the sounds of Shelley "cracking" the dawn. I swear there is an amazing God we serve that matches persons like Shelley and me who are opposites when it comes to their "fruitful" time of day. Shelley is a morning person, always has been, always will be. She will last as long as she can at night but then she is gone. Me I am a night person, always have been, always will be, unless aliens come and inhabit my body and change me. That or God does a number. He did when I worked at the Children's Home. But, I reverted to my old ways. Genetic I guess.

Anyway, Lili awoke before the Rooster (which is appropriate seeing as she was born in the year of the rooster) and decided to have a conversation with me. Which was NOT happening. SO I gently, yeah right, suggested that she go into the OTHER room to her Mommy and see if she could help her start the morning out right instead of missing a limb... just teasing.

So since she had gotten such an early start she was wiped out about middle of the day and I could easily tell she was ready for a nap, although she disagreed with me wholeheartedly. I knew right away this was going to take some convincing so I made her climb up into my lap and then began the process to calm her down with suggestions about how tired her hands were because they had worked so hard finding all those little pieces of Doritos in the bottom of that bag. And I do mean worked hard. She had been munching out on the last of a bag of chips and having a field day doing it. The tips of her fingers had turned orange as well as anything in which they came into contact. SO I grabbed a wet wipe (praise God for this invention) and began to wipe away the residue and orange "lipstick" that had deposited itself onto her skin.

We talked some more about how her feet were tired from running around the house all morning and how even her eyelids were so heavy and tired that she just had to close them so she could rest them for just a minute or two. To which she slowly succumbed and rested her head in the middle of my chest and listened to my heart beat and fell asleep... and snored. What a hilarious little snoring sound she can make when she falls asleep a certain way. She does it in her car seat sometime. Shelley and I love it.

I don't have to tell you how wonderful it was to hold my little girl and caress her head and hold her little bottom and just feel her warmth and know how much a miracle her presence there truly is. I just had to lift up a prayer of thanksgiving to God for bringing her into our life. What a magnificent miracle she has been to us. We have saved each other.

Needless to say, I of course joined her shortly thereafter in search of that sand man. I found him too, and he was all too happy to see me again. We have a special relationship he and I.

I mentioned in the beginning of this post at how I was different. There is no way you live through the experiences of the past year or two, survive them intact and not be a different person. I think I am different just recently from the release of stresses that were consuming me. I have goals more clearly defined and that for anyone but especially a man who is head of a home, is a wonderful thing. I look at my family a little differently than I did before. I still yell and have my grumpy moments but I believe they would all tell you that I am changing.

I would like to look at it as a "seasoning".

I hope we all like the flavor.

I believe we will.

God is a magnificent chef!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Fern and the Bamboo

I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement I have received as a result of my last post. Thank you. I will try to share as I can and I certainly hope you will continue to stop by and read.

I pray perhaps something I empart will make your journey a little brighter and maybe you will laugh or cry, but I hope you will always remember to flush and wash your hands.

The Fern and the Bamboo

author unknown

One day I decided to quit....I quit my job, my relationship, my Spirituality...

I wanted to quit my life.

I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

'God', I said. 'Can You give me one good reason not to quit?'

His answer surprised me...

'Look around', He said. 'Do you see the fern and the bamboo?

''Yes', I replied.

'When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.

And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo'. He said.

'In the third year, there was still nothing fromthe bamboo seed. But I would not quit.
In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.' He said.

'Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of My creations a challenge it could not handle.' He said to me.

'Did you know, My child, that all this timeyou have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. Don't compare yourself to others.' He said.

'The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern, yet, they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come', God said to me. ' You will rise high!'

'How high should I rise?' I asked.

'How high will the bamboo rise?' He asked in return.

'As high as it can?' I questioned.

'Yes.' He said, 'Give Me glory by rising as high as you can.'

I left the forest and brought back this story. I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you... Never regret a day in your life.

Good days give you Happiness.

Bad days give you Experiences.

Both are essential to life.

Keep going...

Happiness keeps you Sweet,

Trials keep you Strong,

Sorrows keep you Human,

Failures keep you Humble,

Success keeps You Glowing,

But Only God keeps You Going!