Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here I Go!


Well, tomorrow is the day.  I'm boarding the plane, headed for India.  It's a rare occasion when I'm speechless, but I'm not sure I have words to express my excitement for this trip!  I won't be able to post much to my own blog while I'm gone, but we will be posting trip updates via the Partners International Women's Blog if you're interested in following our progress!  Thanks again to those who have supported me financially and prayerfully!  You are a large part of what God is doing!


Blessings,

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dang

It's a bummer when technology doesn't work like you want it to.  I guess for my email subscribers, my embedded YouTube link didn't come through on that last post.  If you'd like to see/hear the song, you'll have to go back to my original post at marriedtothepastor.com to view it.

Technically Yours,

Music Monday - Yours

A couple weeks ago I saw Steven Curtis Chapman, Josh Wilson, and Andrew Peterson in concert in the "Songs and Stories" tour.  I'm not sure exactly what to say about that night, except that it was absolutely amazing.  I've felt a little spiritually parched lately and spending that evening listening to these guys sing praises to the Lord was like a spring of fresh water.  It quenched my spirit in a way that's difficult to describe.  Just about all the songs spoke to my heart, but one in particular felt like it was a direct reminder from God.  This isn't a new song, and I marvel that for all the SCC albums I own, I had never even heard it.  In light of the loss of my baby girl almost 10 years ago, my upcoming trip to India, and several other areas of my life where I just need some reassurance, this has become my favorite song in this moment.  It was so powerful live, and this video only catches a glimpse of that, but hopefully it will be enough to remind you, like it did me, that you belong to Him.



Blessings,

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Renewal


I got an email the other day reminding me it's time to renew one of my domain names.  Each year I have to renew Marriedtothepastor and a couple other domain names I own.  I know.  The tech savvy ones of you are asking why I don't renew for 2, 5, or 10 years so I don't have to deal with it each year.  But the truth is, I need the reminders to happen annually or I'll lose track of them altogether and have to forfeit my websites and email address.  If I don't keep "renewed", the blog that I've worked hard to maintain will be lost and replaced by something else.

I've been reading "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer, and while I don't always agree with everything Joyce has to say, this book has been powerful in forcing me to stop and consider the state of my mind.  I've been pondering the topic of renewing the mind since early summer, when I was preparing to speak at our Women's Retreat on a related topic.  It's a concept I long for in my own life, but have difficulty attaining. 

I find that if I don't keep my mind renewed with the things of God, other things are ready and waiting to move in and occupy the void space.  Worry, anxiety, and fear move in and make themselves at home.  It's my job to get rid of these uninvited guests and focus my thoughts on what is pure, lovely, and true. (Phil 4:8)  The question becomes...how?

While I'm sure there are many deep, theological answers to this question, for today, I'll share one simple thing that has been helping me.  I took a few minutes and searched my iPod for music that speaks scripture and spiritual truth.  I have a ton of fantastic Christian music, but I was very intentional about what I chose.  It had to directly contain or clearly illustrate scripture.  I created a playlist and named it "Mind Renewal" and I've been playing it daily at different times--sometimes before bed, sometimes while working or driving. 

Music, and more so God's Word, really does soothe the savage beast in my mind.  Pair that with my Bose noise canceling headphones (not while driving), I really can block out the rest of the world and renew.

How about you?  Has your thought life been invaded and replaced by things that don't belong?  Is it time for your renewal? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Year That Wasn't


I think I might have amnesia.  Though I'm desperately trying to recall, I don't know what happened to this year.  I wandered into my home office the other day and realized I hadn't been in there in a long while.  I have this great space in my basement that's decked out with a large executive desk, bookshelves, and a fantastic whiteboard. Nicknamed, "The Mama Room", my office is a haven of rest for reading, writing, and relaxing...yet I haven't even darkened the door since...well, I can't remember.

When I finally did enter The Mama Room, I wistfully read my whiteboard, which had all of my goals for 2011 written on it. Ugh.  I haven't done any of them.  My kayak never touched the lake this summer, I didn't write any articles this year, and I never got the redesign of my blog finished (or started, for that matter).

I vaguely remember turning 40 this spring, then after that, it's only a blur.  So what happened? I had goals.  I had plans.  But, for all my attempts, I've accomplished none of it.  Even as I write this, Proverbs 16:9 is ringing in my ears.  "In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

This has felt very much like the year that "wasn't".  It's flown by and I feel like I've missed it, but if I stop and think about the steps the Lord has directed me in, I see that I'm woefully wrong.  I took a fantastic two week vacation, visiting dear friends and family.  I was blessed to speak at our annual women's retreat for church. I've made new friends, learned new things, and been given new opportunities. And now, God is leading me to India.

Maybe this isn't the year that "wasn't", after all.  Maybe it's the year that "is".  And, maybe I am not in control, but I'm in the control of the great I AM.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An App For That...

Although i love my iPad 2, I've been lamenting that I can't properly post to my blog from it because Blogger uses flash for its blog editor, which isn't compatible with the iPad. If you don't know what I mean by that statement, I'll just say, until now, blogging from my iPad hasn't worked.

But, ta-da! I found this nifty Blogpress app that supposedly makes it work. I guess I'm not going to know if it really does until I hit the "publish" button.

I hear that wireless connections abound in the area of India I'll be visiting, so I'm hoping to be able to use this to send updates from the field. So here goes....



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Experiencing God


Experiencing God.  As Christians, we’d all like to do it, but often wonder how.  In his book, Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby says when God speaks to you, you know it’s him.  He leaves no doubt in your mind.  He’s clear and unmistakable.  Recently, this happened to me, and try as I might, there’s no denying what I need to do.  By God’s grace and with his help—I’m going to India.

In many parts of the world, especially India, women are among the most oppressed people on earth.  Partners International is an organization that has been working in India since the 1960’s.  The goal of their women’s ministry is to replace poverty and injustice with dignity and purpose in Christ. 

Along with my church, New Song Bible Church, I want to know how to join in and be actively involved in ministering to these women.   January 2-13, 2012, I and a few others have been invited to visit several of Partners’ women’s ministries.  Our goal is to learn, interact, and see how we might set up long term relationships in key ministry areas.

I am asking my friends and family to pray for me as I take this step of faith.  There are many preparations to be made and challenges to overcome.  If you'd like to join in this work with me prayerfully or financially, you can contact me via email at cari at carijohnson dot com.  (Sorry for the cryptic type, but you understand...)  I’ll be posting updates to Married To The Pastor as I prepare and travel. 

Most of all, thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Everything You Need

A few weeks ago I took a Hunter's Safety course with my son.  There's several good posts behind this story, but for now, let's just say that The Pastor conveniently had to be out of town for part of the class, so I had the, uh, honor of taking our son.  

Among the disturbing videos that were shown (again, topics for another day), was one about hypothermia, heat exhaustion, and basic first aid.  It very accurately depicted someone with hypothermia becoming disoriented and disillusioned by his circumstances.  He began to panic and run around like a crazy man.  While freaking out, he threw off his outer clothing and other items that would have been helpful to him, and ultimately died. 

Other video clips showed similar circumstances.  People who were confused and disoriented, acting irrationally, and getting themselves into trouble or even death.  The similarity in all the stories was that each person had, in their possession, everything they needed for survival.  They just weren't thinking clearly enough to use it. 

2 Peter 1:3 tells me, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness..."  I have everything I need for life and godliness, right at my fingertips. God has given it to me.  It's right there.  I just need to utilize it.  But instead, I run around like a crazy person, panicking and acting irrationally, disregarding the very things that could help me, and ultimately getting myself in trouble.

Today, whatever circumstance you find yourself in, take a deep breath and clear your head.  Think about your savior Jesus Christ, and consider that, if you know Him...you already have everything you need.  Now use it!
 



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elephants, Eggplants, & Hogs - Oh My!!


Even after 20 years of living in Idaho, there are a few things that I still haven't adjusted to.  One of them is the county fair.  I just can't suppress the city girl in me enough to understand why anyone would be interested in knowing who can grow the most uniform vegetables or what kind of art you can make out of an eggplant.

Another event I can't quite get my head around is the livestock auction.  I mean, I understand it's value for kids, learning responsibility as they raise and care for an animal; and then realizing the fruit of their labor as they sell the animal and make a profit.  That's all about profit and loss.  I get that.

What I don't get, is spending three times the fair market value for pork chops that I can get at Costco without having to pay and wait for them to be processed at the butcher shop. So imagine my surprise last weekend when I found myself almost going home with a 230 pound hog. (That's what you call em at the fair--hogs.)

It all started with the elephant ears, and I fully blame my friend, Jennifer for that part.  She's the one that said we had to get them.  Anyway, I'll cut to the chase and say that we ended up with three elephant ears.  One for Jennifer, one for her husband, and one for The Pastor, our son, and me to share. We settled into the bleachers to watch the livestock auction with deep fried goodness in our hand and the smell of cows and pigs in our nostrils.  Speaking of pigs, and being that I am one, I single-handedly ate most of my family's elephant ear and a frozen pink lemonade to boot. 

The auction wore on (and on) and after awhile my stomach began to let me know that it did not appreciate being fed all that greasy, deep-fried junk food. It was about a gajillion degrees in the auction barn and I was getting hot and sick.  I eyeballed The Pastor's bidding number, which was laminated and just the right size for fanning myself, despite knowing the risk I would run waiving it around.  In desperation I decided it was worth the risk.  I would just hold it sideways while I fanned so the auctioneer couldn't read the number and I would fan very exaggeratedly so it was clear what I was doing.  That was my plan.

The next pig...I mean hog...came into the ring and the auctioneer started his work.  The crowd was noisy, guys were yelling out "hup" every time a bid was made, the auctioneer was rattling on, and I was fanning away.  Suddenly the guys stopped yelling and the auctioneer was asking where the highest bidder wanted to send the pig--hog--for butcher.  He was looking right at me.

My heart started pounding and I ever so slowly lowered my "fan" while continuing to use it.  Keep fanning, I told myself calmly.  Don't make eye contact. He kept looking at me.  Keep fanning.  Stay calm. I lowered the fan even more and kept my gaze firmly on the floor.  It felt like time stood still and I wondered how badly The Pastor was going to yell at me for this. 

When I couldn't take it any longer, I peeked up and looked at the auctioneer.  He was still looking my way.  I glanced over at The Pastor, who seemed completely oblivious to my plight, and then at Jennifer who didn't look all that worried either.  I was just about to ask The Pastor what I was supposed to do, when I noticed that the auctioneer wasn't looking at me, he was looking past me....at the man directly behind me....who had just bought the hog.

Next year, this city girl is skipping the elephant ears, the livestock auction, and maybe the fair altogether.  On second thought, maybe I'll just stay in the exhibit hall and check out all those lovely uniform vegetables.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Circus Is In Town


Last week while visiting my parents, my mom had a doctor's appointment so my dad and I sneaked off to the one place we only get to go alone together because my mom and The Pastor hate it--The Mongolian BBQ. 

We had a fantastic lunch (especially since we were able to eat it in peace without listening to our spouses telling us how much they hate it) and when we were done, I spoke words that cracked me up...."Dad, can you drop me off at the mall?"  I think the last time I can remember saying that, I was in Jr. High.

Mom was finishing up at the doc and supposed to meet me there, so at least  I wouldn't have to ride the public transit home.  That right there made it a better experience than my ones in Jr. High.

Once Mom showed up at the mall and we had sufficiently filled up on MyFroYo (good thing we don't have one of those where I live or this would quickly become a diet blog), we started the shopping in earnest.  Almost immediately I noticed a very strage phenomenon.  We would pick up an article of clothing and proclaim, "This is cute!", then we'd look at the tag and check the size--four.  Every single time, a four. 

When we'd look at the same thing in our own sizes, they looked like circus tents.  How come the exact same item can look different based on your perspective?  When I stepped back to examine, the clothes were identical. 

I'm starting to think I better take care when I evaluate the circumstances of my life and make sure I have good perspective before categorizing them as "good" or "bad".  Who knows, the circus just might be in town.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Drying Time

My clothes dryer works about the same as my blogging skills of late--not good.  I keep waiting for the darn thing to die so I have an excuse to get one of the new, fancy ones like all my friends have.  Last summer, I was sure I had my chance.  The dryer stopped.  No warning, no sounds, no half warm elements...just wouldn't turn on.  With my vast dryer experience, I excitedly could tell this was a big problem.  The even bigger problem (for me) was that my dad was visiting when this fortuitous event occurred and being the handy guy he is, he and The Pastor quickly diagnosed and fixed it. Dang.  

My particular issue tonight actually had a lot more to do with me than the dryer.  I've been crazy busy and slightly stressed this week as I've prepared to wrap up things at work and home so I can go on vacation.  The to-do lists have been long and the days even longer.

In between watering the yard and doing the dishes tonight, I remembered that I had a load of clothes to dry.  I set the dryer for the max time, 50 minutes, and went about my work.  A few hours later I realized I hadn't heard the buzzer, but I know that my dryer won't completely dry a load in one cycle (because of previously stated junkiness of dryer), so I turned it back on for another 25 minutes and went back to my work.

When the buzzer went off the second time, I heard it and rushed down to get the clothes out so that ironing wouldn't be added to my list of things to get done.  I flung the dryer door open and...it was empty.

I looked and found the wet load still in the washing machine.  As poorly as my dryer performs, it works even worse when you forget to put the clothes in. 
 

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Black Skies, Black Moods, and Blackouts

Rain. It seems like that's the only weather forecast I've heard lately.  "Partly rainy with a chance of rain."  "Mostly rainy with a constant drizzle."  "Completely rainy with a 100 % chance of morning, mid-day, and afternoon showers."  And so it goes.  The skies have been dark, stormy and black, and recently my mood has followed along.  Getting a convertible for your birthday is just slightly less fun when the first sunshine predicted is for the third week in July.

Besides being gray and cloudy, life has been unbelievably busy.  Does your life seems to go in spurts where things are manageable and then somehow, slowly, like the frog in the boiling water, it gets so crazy that you feel as if you're flying by the seat of your pants and barely hanging on?  Mine does.  The past four weeks, I've been hanging on by the skin of my teeth. 

But, in the middle of my chaos, it amazes me how God gently reminds me that he is in control of my situation.  Yesterday, I was attending the second day of a two-day class in Spokane.  The class was great, but  I was dog tired and worrying about my house, where laundry was piling up, bathrooms were getting excessively scummy, and you could grow potatoes in my carpet.  Even if I did have a couple hours to spend at home, I was so tired, I knew getting to bed was the only thing I would realistically accomplish.

I returned to class after a fantastic lunch at HuHot, a trendy Mongolian Grill, and was settling back into learning report writing and data manipulation, when....BAM.  The room went pitch black. I soon found out that the entire building, and a large surrounding area had gone black.  They canceled class and sent me to the one place I was longing for more than any other--home.

God knew just what I needed.  I was rapidly approaching overload and he took out a city block's worth of power to give me the opportunity to go home for a nap and some house cleaning.  What an awesome God we serve, who knows our every need!

Now, if he could just help me whip up a roast to go with those potatoes...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I'm Schizophrenic

Here's a lovely photo of my son and friends finishing their Easter egg hunt on Sunday.  Notice the shorts?


Here's what I found Tuesday morning when I woke up.






Enough said.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Price of Perfection


It's spring in Idaho.  In lots of places, spring means tulips, budding trees, and grass beginning to turn green with life.  In North Idaho, spring only means one thing--mud.

I've been driving my new car for about a week now, but our road is full of potholes, mud bogs, and ruts.  The good thing is my Miata is a champ at dodging the potholes.  The bad thing is that its black paint job is a mud magnet.  It's constantly filthy and there's no end in sight to my current plight. 

I took my first road trip this week to warmer, sunnier climate where my parents live.  As I drove into town, I was highly conscious of my Idaho mud car sticking out like a sore thumb in a land of shiny, clean Honda Accords.  I decided that a car wash was priority number one.  The unfortunate thing was the gale force wind blowing while I attempted to get my car presentable. 

The suds were blowing, the water from the pressure washer was swirling, and all the while I was trying to stay dry and clean, as my mom and I were heading to lunch at the Olive Garden and I didn't want to follow in the footsteps of my car, sticking out like a wet, muddy Idaho girl.  As I wrestled the power washer, my Mom--my own flesh and blood--sat in the car laughing at me and snapping pictures of my distress. 

But, I'm happy to report, that I stuck to it and got the job done.  I proudly drove away in my now shiny car.  Almost immediately, it began to rain.  I knew then and there I had a decision to make.  I could either park my car and wait for the sun (which likely won't show up in Idaho until July), or I could come to terms with my muddy Mazda and make the best of it.  I chose the latter. 

I've also been reading online a bit about some basic care for my convertible and I'm astonished at the number of people who only drive when the weather is perfect.  They only park in certain places in the lot and when they do, are paranoid about getting a scratch or a ding.  They need perfect circumstances in which to operate.

The way I figure it, in life and sporty cars, we can either park in the garage, stay safe and clean and make sure we don't get dings in our doors, or we can admit that we're going to get a little dirty and enjoy the ride.  I for one don't want to miss out on the action because I'm too picky about circumstances or fearful of what might be lurking.

The Pastor gave me a car as a gift, but God gives us an immeasurably more wonderful gift--life--and he intends us to use it, not fear it; to jump into the action and get a little dirty for His work and His Kingdom; to take it for a spin in spite of our imperfections; and to do the best we can with our circumstances.

How about it?  Are you ready to cruise?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Unexpected F Word


I told you I felt it coming.  That inevitable F word caught up with me yesterday.  The funny thing is that it didn't turn out to be the F word that I expected.  I expected Forty.  I expected friends and family.  I even expected fun and fantastic. But, the real word for the day turned out to be flabbergasted.

As much as I like to poke fun at The Pastor on this blog, I've got to hand it to him, he really knows how to treat an old woman right.  He surprised me with a shiny, black, convertible Mazda Miata. Somehow, this was just the salve that I needed to soothe the wounds of my fortiness. 

Zipping along with the top down did wonders for my attitude, although it was short lived because it was freezing.  I'm starting to think forty is going to be just fine and consequently, my new word for the day is....fast!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Profane


I feel an F word coming on.  It's uncharacteristic and I'm not sure what's come over me, but nonetheless, I feel it.  I've tried to hide my true emotion, but it's coming down to the wire and I just don't think I can hold it back any longer.  Lest your opinion of me be falling, I want to make it clear that The Pastor is not innocent in all this.  He's been egging me on.  He's been teasing me, hiding things from me, and texting my friends behind my back.  I pretty much blame him for the whole thing.

I've tried to deny my situation, but it doesn't seem to go away.  Instead it feels like a time bomb ticking deep inside of me.  I truly want to take the high road (actually, I'd like to take any road out of town) but I'm left with no choice.  I've heard of other people in my predicament trying to mask the reality of the situation.  They try to make it better with words like Fabulous or Sporty, but so far, that isn't helping me one bit.  I guess there's nothing I can do but attempt to come to terms with my problems.  Yep...there's definitely an F word coming.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Would Jesus Buy an iPad?


I was recently at a celebration for my Grandpa's 90th birthday in which a couple of my cousins were giving me a hard time for slacking on my blogging  (You guys better be reading this).  Both of my blogs, this one and The Tech Mom, haven't had a post in awhile and I was lamenting dividing my time between the two.  They are both near and dear to my heart, but completely opposite topics.  My one cousin asked if there wasn't a way I could merge the two into one, but I confess, I just don't see it.  However, the night before the birthday party (and that conversation), I woke up in the middle of the night and in one of those foggy, strange moments, a blog topic came to me.  Would Jesus Buy an iPad? 

I have a feeling this topic came to mind because I've been considering a lot lately, the Bible and it's unchanging relevance.  It's easy to read the Bible, and have trouble drawing the lines about what is and isn't relevant for today.  As Christians we would of course agree that "Love your neighbor as yourself" has the same application today as it did back then.  But what about Paul saying he does not permit a woman to teach?  Does that apply?  If not, why not?  Both are included in the inspired Word of God.  How are we to pick and choose which topics and instructions we will abide by and which ones "don't pertain to us today" because of differences in society and culture? 

If Jesus were on earth today, would he own a Blackberry?  Would he text his disciples to meet him at the lake?  Would he choose a PC or a Mac? How fast would his internet connection be?  How about a different line of questions altogether....would Jesus go to the movies?  How many committees would he be on at church?  Would he skip church on Sunday to play in the soccer tournament...or to watch a close friend play who had invited him?  Frankly, I have no idea to the answer to these questions. (Well, maybe a couple of them...I'm sure Jesus would own an iPhone, not a Blackberry)

But I do know that the Word he has given us, provides us the answers we need to make the decisions that face us today...decisions that are far more important that which technology we choose (or if it's ok to choose it at all).  The reason is, that Jesus is most concerned with the state of our hearts, and that's what his word speaks to. 

Does your Blackberry have more control over your life than your Savior?  Are you more committed to the committees than to the purity of your heart?  Search out God's Word for timely, relevant guidance on how to put your life back into balance.  I assure you, the answers we are looking for are there.  And, if you prefer to search the scriptures digitally...there's an app for that.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Powerless Except For Prayer

My boy is sick.  Not just a passing sniffle or a cough, but he's working on day 10 of a fever.  That weighs heavy on a mom's heart (not to mention that The Pastor is very sick, as well).  Of course, I've been praying for my son to get well, but also selfishly for myself because it's so hard to watch him be sick and miserable.  As parents we never want to have to watch our kids suffer, no matter what the reason. 

But the other night, as I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and praying that maybe tonight would be the night his fever broke, I found myself broken, but in a different way.  My heart suddenly went out to every single mother on earth who has to watch her children suffer in terrible, terrible ways, yet is powerless to do anything about it. 

If it's difficult for me to watch a fever and wait for the doctor to decide what to do, how hard is it for a mom to watch her children slowly, day by day, die of malnutrition?  How hard is it to watch your bald, pale child lie in the cancer unit of St. Judes Hospital, knowing there is no cure?  How hard must it be to watch your child suffer with infection or malaria or some other disease and know there is no available medicine.  Laying warm in my bed that night, I felt a desperation for those whose situations are far worse than mine.

These are problems which demand a resolution, but to which one is not available except by the grace of God.  I'm thankful that antibiotics will likely soon heal my son, but I'm maybe more grateful that I was given the small opportunity to look beyond myself and my own comfortable world and have a chance to ponder the severe hurts that only God can heal.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fuzzy Math



The Pastor and I have been contemplating turning off our Dish Network Satellite TV for quite awhile.  His rationale is that it will save us money.  Mine falls more in the camp of "there's-nothing-but-trash-on".  Either way a little over a month ago, we finally decided to take the plunge and turn it off for awhile.  It was also good timing, as we are leading a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class at our church, so it was a great time to be cutting back on expenses and saving money.

For Christmas, The Pastor bought me a new, fancy internet-ready Blu-ray player, and we already had a Netflix account, so I reasoned turning off the satellite would be pretty painless.  The way I had it figured, we would just stream Netflix through the Blu-ray player and watch DVD's and other internet content.  (If you're confused by the previous statement, you might want to take a peek at my other blog--The Tech Mom).

So, off went the satellite, on went the internet TV show watching.  However, I made one slight error in my calculations.  I forgot to factor in the all important detail that I have a limit on how much I can download from my Verizon internet service before I start getting dinged with per megabyte charges.  This turned out to be a very detrimental item to leave out.

When I looked at my internet report, we had gone 1,000 megabytes (yes, that's 1GB) over our allotted usage.  I'm not going to do the math for you, but suffice to say, that is an extremely large bill...especially to save $39 bucks for a month's worth of satellite.

Stupid Verizon.  Stupid Netflix.  Stupid Dave Ramsey. 


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Yes, We Have No Bananas


I think eating chocolate covered bananas must be a sin.   It's the only reasonable explanation why God is doing everything he needs to, to keep me from eating them.

Three weeks ago, I took my son to Disneyland.  My parents went with us and we had a wonderful time.  One of the afternoons we were there, my mom and cousins had gone off to do something else, so my son, my dad, and I were left to ourselves.  We had about 30 minutes until we were going to meet back up with them for dinner.

Strange things happen at Disneyland and I temporarily forgot my own mothering skills and rules for my son about not spoiling dinner.  Realizing that my own mom had left me unsupervised with my dad, we decided to buy chocolate covered bananas.  They were heavenly!  Dad and I vowed we would come home and master making them ourselves.  I mean, it's a banana with chocolate...how hard can it be?

Attempt #1
I didn't have any sticks to "stab" my bananas with, so I decided that bite sized pieces would work just as well for my test.  I peeled the bananas and cut them into said bite sized pieces.  I put them in the freezer.  So far so good. See?  I knew this would be easy.

After the bananas were frozen, I melted chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave.  Still going well.  Once the chips were melted, I decided I'd throw the bananas in the bowl and mix them up to coat them with the chocolate.  Then I'd fish them out, sprinkle them with nuts and let them harden.

Here's where things went south.  The frozen bananas immediately cooled the chocolate, which turned to a huge bowl of sludge and didn't "coat" anything.  The more I stirred, the gloppier it got and the bananas turned to mush in the process.  I threw the whole bowl full of mush and glop into the sink.  Hmmm, apparently this is harder than it looks.

Attempt #2
I called my dad and related my banana woes to him.  He told me he had also tried, but he went the easy route and bought a bottle of Magic Shell self-hardening chocolate, froze the bananas, then poured the Magic Shell on.  Worked like a charm, he claimed.

Undaunted to try to create a real dipped banana, I forged on.  Only this time, I got smarter(er) and looked online for frozen banana recipes.  Just about unanimously, they said to melt the chips in a glass bowl suspended over a simmering pan of water.

I rounded up some shish kabob sticks I found in my pantry, skewered the bananas and froze them.  This time, I melted the chips in a bowl over boiling water, as recommended.  Oh yeah!  This was going well.  I actually got one banana dipped in the chocolate. However, I made a small mistake.  My pan of water was more like a roaring boil than a simmer and apparently if you overheat chocolate, it begins to cook and harden.  Again, I ended up with a bowl of glop.  Dang.

Attempt #3
Finally deciding that my dad really might now what he was talking about, I purchased some Magic Shell at the grocery store on my lunch hour.  One problem.  the high temperature that day was about 12 degrees and when I got home and tried to use the Magic Shell which had been in the car since lunch, it was one completely full, completely hardened, solid bottle of chocolate.  I didn't want any stinkin' frozen bananas anyway.

Final Attempt
I read the Magic Shell bottle and found that you can "thaw" it out after it hardens by running it under hot water for awhile.  (I also happened to read that one serving is 210 calories!  So much for low calorie tasty snack--but that's a post for another day).  Anyway, I thawed it out, poured it on my frozen bananas and rolled them in chopped peanuts.  The results were amazing!  They came out perfect and tasted fantastic! (They better, for 210 calories per serving--no wonder God didn't want me to have one).

Dang.  I hate it when my dad is right and I'm wrong.  I'm almost 40 and Father still knows best. 

Thanks, Dad!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Tech Mom


Check out my new blogging venture over at The Tech Mom.  Don't worry, I'll always be Married To The Pastor and don't plan on leaving this blog, but my passion for technology needs an outlet, so the geek in me has created "The Tech Mom".  I'm still working on site design, but for now, I'm starting with a few posts over there, so take a peek and see what you think!  The current address is www.thetechmom.wordpress.com, but when I'm done setting everything up, I'll have an easier address to remember.  In the mean time, I'm open to any and all ideas for technology blogging topics.  Hope to see you there...

P.S.  If you're interested, the picture above is the new Motorla Xoom tablet PC--rivaling the iPad and coming in February.  Decisions, decisions!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Technology Helping or Hurting Our Kids?



 This is a sad, but true commentary.  Of course I understand that a two year old isn't going to ride a bike anyway, but the disturbing part is that once that kid is old enough to learn to ride a bike, he's too obsessed with his PS3 and Wii to go outside and do it.  If anyone's on the side of technology, it's me, but for heaven's sake people...let's make our best effort to raise well rounded children!  January is Get-Your-Butt-Off-The-Couch-And-Go-Outside-And-Throw-A-Snowball month, so let's pry our smartphones out of our children's hands, turn off Angry Birds, and go do something active.  (Okay, I might have made that last part up, but still....)


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Disneyland

It's hard to know what to say about two days at Disneyland, so here are a few pictures to say it for me.




Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Silver Lining


 No matter how hard you try, things just don't turn out like you plan.  I had a plan for last night when I got home from work.  I was going to eat dinner, do a little laundry, and work on a couple writing projects while my son played with his friend who was spending the night.

My first problem was that managing two little boys eating, showering, getting ready for bed, etc..., is substantially harder than managing one.  There is school today, so it's not like this was a Friday night free-for-all slumber party. My second problem came with the words, "Uh, Mom....I need your help in here."  Not good.

Son and said friend had embedded silly putty into son's hair (actually scalp), so I spent my evening shaving son's head.  Not my idea of a fun.

But, not to be discouraged, though my son is nearly bald, I console myself with this thought:  When we go to Disneyland later this week, it's highly likely that he will be confused for a sick child and we'll be ushered to the front of the lines.  Every cloud has a silver lining....

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

Three days until my son and I leave the snow and ice and head for sunshine and palm trees.  Ok, well, I hope there's sunshine.  I figure since there's been so much rain in California already, that they are due for a really long, sunny streak.  I'm holding out hope that it will happen while we're there.  If not, we'll just have to have fun at the Drippiest Place on Earth.  Either way, it's going to be a blast.  We're leaving The Pastor home to hold down the fort, but we'll keep him apprised of the fun via picture messages and phone calls (ain't technology great?) You can check out my video link at the top of the page for video uploads from the trip.  I'm looking for votes on everyone's favorite Disneyland attraction.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Career Options


 Things have been a bit tough at work lately and over Christmas, I had a three week "Holiday Furlough".  While I was home, I pondered options for a new career.  Here are my top picks at this time.

1. Professional Yoyoer
2. Go-Kart Racer
3. Ice Cream Taster
4. Ambien Tester
5. Snuggie Model

After reviewing all my options, I think I'll do well to pray for patience and remain in my career in Information Technology.  Unless, of course, God opens the door for me into my real career of choosing....retirement.

Here's to contentment in 2011!

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