>Furthering the Feminine Cause

>GRRRLL! I am laughing out LOUD at your post! I enjoyed our conversation this morning too. And I think you are very funny with your homemade mayo. Even I, the domestic goddess extraordinaire, have had my fair share of kitchen flops! Last year, to celebrate the Chronicles of Narnia, I decided I was going to make homemade Turkish delight for all my friends, and wrap it in little white boxes with green ribbons (reference the book if you’d like to check for accuracy :)). And I was NOT about to make any of those recipes that called for gelatin. That was cheating. I was going to make the sugar-syrup, from-scratch, Turkish-grandma kind of delight. So, funds being short, I bought a cheap candy thermometer. Honey, for two weeks straight, my kitchen was awash in sticky syrups and flavorings. I made batch after batch of boiled syrup, dribbling tiny bits of it into ice water to check the hard ball vs. soft ball stage. No lie – I went through probably two dozen pounds of sugar. I only got one batch really right. Everyone got a very tiny, pathetic box of Turkish Delight which probably cost, when you factor in all the failures, more than a fancy imported box ever would have!
I guess, though, my point is that kitchen stuff and homemaking stuff is fun for me. It’s how I express myself. But that isn’t the definition of the feminine by any stretch. You alluded to that at the end of your post, B. Some very feminine women like to go rock climbing or are engineers. I think it has less to do with our tasks and more to do with our approach to our tasks. I think feminine women are alluring (if you don’t like that word, insert “inviting”), warm, open and emotionally connected with themselves and the world around them. They long to be desired. They are irresistlbe because they know who they are and they are comfortable with themselves. Now, that’s just a short list, but…..it’s a start.
Hmmm. Now, my brain has just drawn a blank. Maybe I should get on to bed and continue this tomorrow……
DAILY BLISS:
Warm, soaking tropical rain with no thunder or lightning. ALL DAY! Woohoo! And building a fort out of sheets and a table with my kids.

<3 Christy

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>Femininity Fluke?

>Christy and I had an enlightening discussion this morning about femininity. We chatted about how many women squelch their femininity in order to prove themselves equal to the men around them. We talked about how an assertive woman sans femininity comes across aggressive and intimidating. I was truly inspired, seeing as how that assertive woman who often leaves her femininity at home is none other than yours truly.

So, in the spirit of celebrating my femininity, and because I ran out of the store bought kind, I attempted to make homemade mayonnaise. Let me warn you that those who tout “easy” mayonnaise making are LIARS! Before attempting homemade mayonnaise, one really needs to have a degree in chemistry!! I carefully followed the directions, and nearly burned up the motor in my very feminine stand mixer, but only came up with oil and egg yolk syrup. Nasty.

Frustrated, yet determined, I continued my quest. Since funds are low, and I’m scraping the bottom of my pantry as it is, I couldn’t let myself lose this battle and waste what I had! Ugh! I did a search on google: “How to thicken homemade mayonnaise” which turned up some interesting information, along with the sad realization that I would have to count as loss the two egg yolks and cup of olive oil I had already sacrificed to my stand mixer. I began a second batch, this time using my whisk to blend the ingredients. I beat and I beat and I beat those yolks and then began to incorporate the oil, DROP by DROP, still beating all the time. This batch turned out better. It was thickening up nicely, but my arm was about to FALL OFF!! Plus the ingredients I was mixing were starting to trigger my gag reflex. At this point, I’m feeling anything but feminine.

Suddenly, the phone rang, interrupting my feminine celebration gone awry. I heard my husband’s voice on the other end, and he, hearing the flustered banging of my whisk, gallantly offered to bring home a jar of mayo from the store on his lunch break. So as my knight in shining armor rode in on his steed to rescue me with a jar of Hellmann’s, I began to think. Maybe femininity isn’t something I’ve lost in the layers of my assertive, driven personality. Maybe it’s always there, and maybe it’s more than high heels and nail polish. Maybe I’m more feminine than I thought! So I thankfully grabbed the jar of mayo from my man and sent him off with a kiss. Perhaps I’ve celebrated my femininity in spite of myself!!

Regardless, friends, I’ve found an appreciation for some things storebought. Knowing firsthand where the “Hell” comes from in Hellmann’s, I’ll forever be grateful for that jar with the blue lid… and for the man who buys it and brings it home to his very feminine woman!!!

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>Becky’s Katrina Reflections

>I’m watching roses being tossed into the 17th street canal here in my city. Each rose represents a life lost in the Lakeview area of New Orleans…my old neighborhood. Today marks one year since Hurricane Katrina hit our area. I’ll never forget watching as Katrina was forecasted. When our local station’s meteorologist began to relay the news that Katrina was headed our way, she began to cry. I remember thinking how odd it was for a weather forecaster to get that emotional over the weather. That chilling moment was a foreshadowing of many tears to come.

I cried a lot those first few weeks, and have cried many more times over the past year. Here we are a year later, and some days the tears are far from over. But you know what? Hope always rises to the top of the puddle of tears. Even on those days when the tears seem like an ocean, Hope’s ship is still sailing, and guess who her Captain is? He’s the Only One who has seen my deepest sorrow and most regrettable mistakes, but still welcomes me freely. He’s the One whose arms I’ve run to with my sorrows time and again, and the One whose held me through storms before. So when Jesus reaches over the side of His ship of hope to catch me and pull me in, I welcome His embrace, I hold onto Him with everything I am, and I cherish those moments because it’s then He’s holding me closest.

Thank God for the ocean of tears, thank God for Katrina, and thank God for the chance she gave me to crawl up in His lap, with nowhere else to go, and see His face in a wonderful way.

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>Paths and Fogs

>A few weeks ago, I posted something about my journey. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something about feeling like the security of the known isn’t really safe for me anymore. I just can’t stay and I have to move forward. I have no idea what’s ahead, but I have come to this place, this edge of my reality, where I have to choose to sit down, or to keep going, and if I keep going, which path will I take? I’ve been sitting here for quite some time now, and this is where the conversation Becky and I had about the wishing fog comes in. It seems to roll in on you when you’re sitting still. I have told myself that I was making choices, but I was really allowing that fog of wishing to swirl around my head and keep me satisfied in my spot, busy with all of the questions that float around there. But, like a brave little soldier, I decided at some point to just start walking. I don’t know when I’ll be able to see what’s ahead, but I had to start walking in some direction or another.
In that spirit, I have grabbed for a few books that I’ve been meaning to read…and one that was recommended to me by some very reliable sources was The Barbarian Way, by Erwin McManus. It’s what fell into my hands first, so I devoured it, cover to cover, in less than two days. If you haven’t read it, I hope this will still make sense to you…..
It’s so encouraging to have words that define my identity! It’s so nice to know there are other people out there who think like I do and feel like I do and don’t-fit-in like I do! But as I reached the end of the book, the following paragraph really seemed relevant to me, in light of the conversations Becky and I have been having, so I’m going to share it with you. He is talking about the Israelites and their journey out of Egypt: “It is no different for us. As it was for them, freedom is not a return to Paradise Lost (it’s not safe back there anymore), but to a promised land that we must win. Like Israel, who longed for Egypt (this would be the wishing fog right here) because the journey was more difficult than the people expected, we must be aware of the temptation to return to the captivity from which we were freed. There is but one path to freedom. There is no easy road made available. We cannot claim to know Christ and to honor Him if we refuse the path He calls us to follow.” Parenthetical statements added by me….of course.
I think that we have many crossroads in our lifetimes, but this has been a particularly difficult one for me. Maybe it’s just my age. Maybe it’s the many milestones and big changes that have occurred in my life this year. I don’t know, really, what it is. But I know I have been standing there, just waiting, wishing, resting – whatever. I know where I’m headed, and I know Who will be with me, but it has really been more difficult than I expected.

<3 Christy

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>Little Boys

>All of you moms out there know what it’s like to suddenly get a view of your children that reveals how much they’ve grown, don’t you? I got one of those moments today. There’s this perfect moment when the sun starts to set around dinner time at my house. It spreads itself out all gold and warm across the westerly rooms of my house. My son, who is 9, asked me for a backrub (he’s sore from his heavy bookbag!) and he laid on my bed, and as I rubbed his sweet young skin, the sunlight gently crept across my bed and landed on his little man shoulders. This all happened in a matter of five minutes – the “changing of the light” is fleeting, which is part of why it’s so special.
All of a sudden, looking at the back of his head, I remembered what he was like when he was two and when he was five and even last year. My heart just broke. I remember how his little body used to curl up next to mine on a regular basis. How I knew what his skin felt like and took it for granted. How I even sometimes just wished for a moment with nobody touching me. He gave me a big hug before we got up. The light was just passing. It struck me that he is almost the same size as I am now.
I’m young, and he still has much growing to do, but I think I’m starting to get it. I have begun to understand that bittersweet separation between a mom and her boy. And though my heart broke, I’m not entirely sure that it didn’t mainly burst out of pride for who he is becoming and the matchless joy of holding him close to me one more time.
So, the changing of the light is fleeting, but so is my little boy. And I don’t get to have another chance to catch it tomorrow, you know?
DAILY BLISS:
I love taking baths! I mean – I really love taking baths. I have taken to bathing in coconut milk – I just love how it makes my skin feel. Now, I usually add a little rum extract for a nicely scented bath, but today, on recommendation from none other than Becky, I added almond extract instead. It smelled like a macaroon! And when I stepped out, I almost felt like I was a warm, toasted coconut cookie. Yum!

<3 Christy

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>August 23

>Thanks for the props on the wishing fog, B. I don’t know which one of us put it together, but it was definitely born in a painful conversation. I suppose I haven’t addressed my end of it in this format either. Maybe I will tomorrow. My brain has pretty much decided it can’t take any more for now and has zoned out. But I did want to post the joy that found me in this day….
At any rate, what came out of your pen, so to speak, is so inspired! I prefer that kind of thing to the rhymes anyway!
DAILY BLISS:
I got flowers from my DH today. I never remember these things, but he called me today to remind me that, 14 years ago, on this date, he first laid eyes on me. I don’t get flowers often, but when I do, it’s really special. But not half as special as the fact that he remembers that kind of thing.

<3 Christy

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>Forward…

>Haven’t posted in a while… Frankly I have been a little on the grouchy side with my life. Not that I don’t love my life, I’ve just had a disappointment over the last couple of weeks that had me feeling disenchanted. Normally when it comes to poetry, I’m a rhyme girl all the way, but last night I had a three hour intro to computers class where my mind had some time to wander. My pen came flying to my hand and during the droning about drop down menus, and I scribbled this little quip in response to my feelings of late.

The heat of passion collides with reality’s chill
Settling over my heart in a wishing fog
A mist of unrealized potential and unmet expectations
Swirls about me, slowing my pace.

My pulse throbs painfully, beating out my heartache
Will I perish in this cloudy spot?
My hand grasps tightly to my Companion.
He ushers me along the only way out of this desperate fog,
Slowly,
Gingerly,
Steadily,
Forward.

This is the conclusion I’ve come to. In the pits of life, I’m left alone. Except for Christ. He alone remains when all others fall away. He hasn’t necessarily called me to a comfortable life. His call is to a life lived in abandon to Him. This means when that “wishing fog” comes down, making me pine for what I don’t have and grieve deep hurts and disappointments, and clouding my view of reality, I have only one option. That option is to hold to Christ and keep moving ahead, knowing that eventually we will reach the other side of the fog and I will once again be able to see the view along our journey. I have to wonder how much time I may have wasted in similar fogs because I gave in to the despair and just sat down instead of clinging to Jesus and continuing to move forward, even if the steps are slow and painful.

I’ve decided that forward is the only way to go. And I’ll not wait for the wishing to go away before I begin to move again. Christ and I will move ahead, at first in the midst of the wishing fog, but eventually it will clear, and I’ll be happy for the ground we covered.

Thanks to Christy for some deep and painful conversations where our term “wishing fog” was born.

Ever Forward,
Becky

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>Miles To Go

>Ugh. I had no idea how much more work it would be to get two kids to school than it was to get one. My kids go to a private school, though, and there is a much higher level of expectation for the parents to live up to. I mean, Mondays they have to wear their PE shirts, and PE shorts are optional. My son has chapel on Wednesdays and has a certain uniform for that, and my daughter has chapel alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and has a certain uniform for that. On top of that there is the optional Mileage Club shirt, for the running club that my kids are in, which can be worn on Tuesdays, and the Chess Club shirt for my son, which he would normally wear on Mondays, because that’s when Chess Club meets, except that he’s required to wear his PE shirt on Mondays. So, if he really wants to wear his Chess Club shirt to Chess Club, I have to remember to pack it in his backpack.
And that’s just the uniforms!
I am really enjoying the quiet of the day that comes between bursts of morning and afternoon activity, though. Having the little guy over that I watch keeps me busy, but not really THAT busy. I remember when I had my first baby and I thought it was so difficult. I find it really funny now that just the one baby is such an easy thing to handle in light of my other duties!
So….now that I have served my homemade dinner, complete with chocolate cake, read a chapter from our current story to the kids and they are neatly tucked in, I must attend to the duties of preparation for tomorrow.
Let’s see….tomorrow is Tuesday….now, what uniform did I say I would have to iron????
DAILY BLISS:
I served the kids their after-school snack on the porch today. It was so nice to just be outside, enjoying the afternoon storms that were rolling in, and away from the electronic gadgets that constantly pull my children’s eyes away from mine.
And also, chocolate cake.

<3 Christy

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>August 19

>DAILY BLISS: This was a drizzly, rainy sort of a day – apparently due to some sort of frontal boundary moving slowly down over the state, the particulars of which I was never privy to. However, it is a rare thing that we get rain here in central Florida without the booming accompaniment of thunder and plenty of lightning. So, I spent this blissful afternoon reading a novel on my front porch while my children enjoyed the rare privilege of splashing around in the rain outside. Perfection!

<3 Christy

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>Babies Everywhere!

> Today, I hosted a group of mommies at my house. Everyone I know has just had babies (except me – I’m quite done with that, thank you) and I decided I would like to be the one to give them a place to congregate and have a cookie or two! So, here are the three cuties that were present today. Copious amounts of drool and many brightly colored toys were shared. Raucous fun was had by all! Oh – and the babies had a good time too.
I’m just really excited to hang out with my friends. No agendas, no Bible studies, no purpose – just being together and getting out of the house. Well, they get out of their houses. But I’m okay with that.
DAILY BLISS:
Playing chess with my son! He finally cornered me and sat me down to school me on the ways of competitive chess. Yes…..my son is on the chess team. All in all, I didn’t do half bad!

<3 Christy

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