Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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Of Scents: Stinky and Flowery

August 30, 2007

Being that we now live in a climate that allows us to have our windows open all day, each morning finds me throwing open every one in the house and breathing in the crisp, cool air. When we lived in the desert, opening windows during the summer was akin to opening a big oven door, which, you know, wasn’t too helpful when it comes to cooling the house down.

But the thing I’ve noticed since we’ve been here is that in addition to cooler temperatures, we also have much, much, much more greenery. And sometimes… that greenery puts off an interesting odor. Now, we’ve established before that I am a plant murderer (although I can’t link for proof–it was on the old blog), so it is safe to say that with very little exception, I have no idea exactly what kind of plants reside around our beachy home. What I do know is that on some days–particularly the hotter ones–some of theses plants stink.

Lots of open windows + Stinky plants = Stinky house

I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on having stinky house.

So. My usual wonderful combat tool is burning a whole lotta candles… because, ah, how I adore candles. Of course, we all know that the only REAL candle is a Yankee Candle, but I do confess to keeping a little stash of cheapy ones from Wally World for when I’m in a pinch and need a new candle for an empty holder.

But, really, even an obsessive candle person like me has a hard time burning candles all day when it’s hot outside. It just seems… odd. I usually light the candles before John comes home as part of my “clean up the toys, tuck the slipcover back in, turn on a CD and light the candles before Daddy gets home” routine. But I don’t like to have them burning all day long, you know.

Today, the windows are open, it’s relatively (important word, that one) hot outside, and the greenery outside is making my house stink. So what did I do?

Grabbed a bottle of my body splash and splashed it around the house.

I know, we are all just in awe of such homemaking cleverness, now, aren’t we?

Now my house smells like Sweet Pea. (From this place, of course… because no matter how close the other brands try to get, they still can’t quite match the original… not that I’m picky about brands, mind you. That would just make me far too Southern for where I live.) Because Sweet Pea happens to be my signature scent. The one I splash on every day. The one my family puts bottles upon bottles of in my stocking at Christmas, because a girl can never have too much of it. The one that when my husband catches a whiff, he thinks, “Ah, how I love my bride!” Well, okay, maybe he doesn’t think that exactly, but he thinks something a little less dramatic, with the same meaning.

I love my stash of Sweet Pea stuff. I just love it. So much so that Sweet Pea deserves Capital Letters as I’m sitting here breathing deeply the light, flowery aroma filling the house (which is also covering the Stink, but that’s beside the point). And also so much so that I try to get as many different forms of that particular scent as I can. The only problem at the moment is that I happen to be completely out of my Sweet Pea lotion. I’m out of the body wash, too. And the hand cream. And the bar of soap. The only thing I actually have is that one bottle of body splash. How we came to be in this state of affairs is beyond me, except for the fact that in The Craziness of the past few months, I’ve just forgotten to pick up any new bottles. So I’m resigned to either using regular old white lotion in combination with my body splash, or–what I’ve actually been doing–using up some of the other lotions and perfumes I have in my bathroom, but don’t use on a regular basis.

Tonight when John gets home, the house will smell like Sweet Pea. I’m fully positive that when he walks in the door, he’ll think something along the lines of, “Ah, how I love my bride!” as he is greeted by the oh-so-sweet aroma. I’m just sure of it.

Hopefully he won’t think, “What is that overwhelmingly strong scent of perfume in this place?” Or worse yet, “It smells like Ash has been tilling the soil and working with those stinky plants while wearing her perfume stuff.”

Because that’s not quite the reaction I had in mind.

"Our happiness is not as important to Him as our holiness"

August 29, 2007

Last night we were a little shaken up. I had been gone all day and came home to the news that either John or a Marine he works with would be leaving within the week for that Sandy Spot on the other side of the globe–and that we wouldn’t find out until the next day. We are already planning for a trip to that Spot in the near future… but we weren’t planning on it being quite this soon, or being during the time that the baby is due…

This morning brought the update that John won’t be the one going… due to several work-related factors, his friend is instead. And this Marine doesn’t end up having even a week to prepare–he’s leaving tonight. If you think of it, please pray for his family. He hasn’t even been home six months from a 13 month deployment.

Last night we called both sets of parents, asking them to pray–for peace while we waited to hear, and most of all for God’s will in the situation. About a million and one questions and concerns were running through our heads, and the concious decision to place it in the Lord’s hands is much easier said than done in these sort of moments. But He is faithful to give the peace He promises… after the initial wave of fear, we were able to just rest, knowing that He knew when we didn’t.

My father in law sent me a long email last night, filled with such love, support and wisdom that I felt it warranted being shared with others beside myself. Many of us face difficult times, whatever and whenever they are, and these words apply to just about every circumstance we might be enduring or foreseeing.

Ashleigh, we’re praying for strength and submission. I just read in Luke about the storm on the sea of Galilee today, and the Lord intervened. He well may. But I am reading Job, and the Lord never intervened, but all worked out perfectly.

I don’t know what the Lord will do. Maybe he will work for our convenience. Maybe he has much higher goals in mind, and our convenience may not be as important as our commitment to Him. Further our Happiness is not nearly as important to him as our Holiness!! We in America pursue happiness, and find the pursuit brings happiness.We never reach the goal of happiness, the closest we come is in its pursuit.
Hebrews says we are to pursue holiness, and the pursuit brings the relative holiness we crave, but the goal of perfect holiness is outside of our reach. That one depends on God’s timing. Still, even there our holiness is more important than our happiness. And our perfect happiness like our perfect holiness only happens as God stages our Exodus.

By the way I spoke from Ruth [my father in law is a pastor--here he's referring to a message he preached] and in the KJV there is a wonderfully interesting, quaint and to us partially incomprehensible phrase, “And her (Ruth’s) Happe (1611 KJV Mgn “Heb. happe happened.”) was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz.” “Happe” is related to “HAPpiness” and “HAPpening.” It means “chance” or “as luck would have it” or it “Happened.” NKJV “She happened to come to the part…”

The reason I bring that up is to show the beautiful contrast between happiness and joy. Happiness happens when things happen as we want them to happen. Joy is a deliberate choice engendered by the Holy Spirit, where we have very similar emotions to happiness, including the lightness, the contentment, the peace and rest, the confidence that things will work out according to our desire–but our desire is totally the Lord’s revealed will. Joy is based not on things happening as we want, but on our choice to trust the Lord to run our lives better than we ever could, and to submit in confidence to His will and not consider our own plans and desires except in the context of His revealed will–revealed by the circumstances and the Word of God.

So even in what unsaved would consider hard times, we can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

THE Buttery Apple Chops

August 27, 2007

SO. Tired.

That is me today. :smile: We had a wonderful, fun-filled weekend these past few days with my parents, my brother and a family friend at a nearby bluegrass festival. My parents go to a number of these festivals throughout California (and even a few out of state), and John and I enjoy tagging along to the closer ones when we can . The thing with bluegrass is that, well, it’s a bunch of musicians who keep, well, musician’s hours…. meaning such things as staying up till the wee hours of the morning every single night. So after a long day of sitting outside listening to all sorts of pickin‘, everyone grabs their own instruments and heads for the campground to jam until they’re falling asleep standing up.

Okay, maybe not everyone… I mean, those of us who don’t actually play a bluegrass instrument, even if we own do happen to one ourselves–AHEM–don’t go jamming. Which means that I certainly wasn’t out there for hours every night. So I really don’t have the same excuse to be So Tired as everyone else, but, hey, I just am. :grin: Being rather pregnant might have a bit to do with it, and I could add that having a toddler to keep track of would contribute to the tiredness… but that would be a little odd, considering that between the help of my husband and my mama and everyone else, I didn’t have to do a whole lot of the chasing and running and carrying over the weekend.

So, since my mind is fuzzy and not coherent enough to actually write up a logical post, I’m giving you the recipe for those lovely Apple Pork Chops, as requested by Kimi at Bushels of Apples.

The thing is, this is what my recipe card says:

Apple Pork Chops

4 chops
4 Tbsp. butter
2 red apples
3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. butter over each chop

That makes a whole lotta sense, now, doesn’t it?

So here’s how I actually make these puppies. Since, you know, they always turn out so great due to my masterful cooking skills.

Now the very first thing I should tell you is that I always–unless it’s like, 6:30 and I’m just getting to dinner after a crazy day, which did actually happen one time, would you believe it??–I always sear my pork chops in a hot skillet with a little oil before I cook them. They come out much more tender and juicy for me that way… and I’m not a big fan of dried out pork chops. :smile: I also love the boneless pork loin chops for this recipe, but the regular bone-in kind work just fine as well.

I take those four seared pork chops and lay them out on a foil-lined baking sheet. (You just might want to make sure that the baking sheet has a good sized lip around it, or at least that your oven is actually level–or you could just be smart and use a 13×9 pan.) I then put about one tablespoon of butter on each chop. (Which can be, of course, very approximate.) I sprinkle some brown sugar and cinnamon on each one, then place half an apple (roughly cored) on top of it all and slide it into the oven. Real difficult, huh? The amount of time they take to cook depends on how thick the chops are, but since I have such a “thing” about not letting them get dried out (which means I’ve employed every trick I’ve seen on every cooking show about pork chops) I usually check them at around 25 minutes, and they’re usually done at around 30-35.

The best part about the whole thing is the smell when they’re cooking. You can smell that cinnamon and butter throughout the whole house.

Unless, of course, the scent you’re picking up is your butter burning on the bottom of your oven.

I think we have some food issues in this house

August 22, 2007

Today Troy was eating lunch.

Which, you know, happens every day.

I noticed he’d eaten the food on his tray much more quickly than usual when he started asking for more food (which, for him, is signing “please,” reaching toward the fridge and pantry, and saying “Moh?” :smile: ). I attributed it to the fact that he was eating a later-than-normal lunch due to taking a later-than-normal “morning” nap, and was just pretty hungry for a little guy.

I gave him a little more of the food he’d been eating and went back to unloading the dishwasher.

Not one full minute later, I heard, “Moh? Moh?”

I thought there no way had he already finished everything I’d given him. But there he was, sporting his widest grin–with just a hint of mischief in it–and a completely clean high chair tray.

It was then that I noticed the dog, laying quite contentedly, half under Troy’s high chair, sporting her own doggie grin… licking her chops.

A little later in the afternoon, I picked up Troy and noticed a funny smell about him. Not a dirty diaper kind of smell…

It was then that I noticed his full, clenched fists, the little brown and red “crumbs” on his chin… and the pieces of dog food in his hands.

I want to be a Fireman!

August 21, 2007

Troy’s current obsession is his Grandpa. His “G’duh’pa’duh” or “G’puh’duh,” to be more precise.

You see, to Troy, my dad’s name is Grandpa Dule. The “Dule” part has nothing to do with my dad’s name, and everything to do with my dad’s daughter, who is the queen of making up nicknames, one of which she bestowed upon her daddy when she was little. It stuck. Then, when we would jokingly wonder what our children would call my parents, we said jokingly that our kids would be confused and end up calling my dad Grandpa Dule. That stuck, too. Poor Dad. Or, Dule, as he’s more often called when I’m talking to him. :grin:

But Troy is completely in love with his Grandpa Dule these days. Every morning when he wakes up and every night before bed, he runs to my dresser, upon which sits a picture of my dad, John and my brother on our wedding day, signs “please” and cries for “G’puh’duuuuuuuuh!!” His routine is then to take the picture one of us has handed him, say, “Awww, G’puh’duh!” and plant a kiss on Grandpa Dule’s face. He also does the same thing whenever I sit down at the computer… only then, he wants to go to my mom’s blog and see the pictures Grandpa Dule and Grammie from Grandpa’s birthday post.

Needless to say, he was quite thrilled when he recently got to go to Grandpa Dule’s fire station for the day.

If you notice any blotchy-looking spots on these pictures, it’s because they were edited (albeit quickly and without my editing software available for use at the moment) for privacy.

Troy had to check out the whole place. and felt quite big hanging out with G’duh’puh’duh.

And then Grandpa Dule got a call, so Troysie got to do what his mommy did oodles of times when she was little–watch the guys scurry to get their gear on, get out the door, and listen to the dispatcher. We waved from the window as Grandpa Dule hopped in the fire truck and then Troy squealed when he heard his Grandpa’s voice coming over the radio into the station.

When Grandpa got back from the call, Troy got the grand tour–”driving” the truck, turning on the lights and all. Then he discovered that he and Grandpa were in the big side mirror. Being the very, ahem, humble little boy he is, he amused himself for quite a while by making faces in the mirror. Forget the fire truck! I wanna see ME! :grin:
His greatest wish? To be left all alone in the driver’s seat, door closed, window rolled up (i.e. with not a bit of help) and to be allowed to drive on his own. He didn’t quite get that wish, given, uh, the fact that there are only half a million buttons and levers and knobs to push in there.

Buuuuut, little did he know that the greatest fun was just around the corner, in the form of the water pump. Grandpa Dule showed him how to get water to trickle out of the pump. (Ha… I think that’s what it was. I’ve only been a fire fighter’s daughter my entire life, ya know, and have played with these very things, but still can’t be sure I’m right…) After that, he didn’t want to do anything else.

Mama’s hero and her bebe.

And Troy has only asked to give G’puh’duh about ten kisses in the process of putting together this post. A managable number, I’d say. Until bedtime, when it will be back to the picture on the dresser for Grandpa Dule’s night-night kisses.