I Can Make A Great Pie Crust…

I just don’t.

I know. I know. That is blasphemy to some, including some in my extended family.

But that is my real life.

I love the holidays. I love that my kids’ favorite meals of the year are turkey and prime rib. I love a warm and decorated house and pounds of butter melted over everything. Several years ago I forced encouraged everyone to play games when we gathered. We’ve laughed through countless rounds of Apples to Apples, Cranium, Scattergories and poker.

However, real life and really great ideas can’t always occupy the same space.

In my little world, over the last decade, we have dealt with a daughter with special needs, a son at war in the desert a million miles away, two parents with Alzheimer’s, other family drama, the financial crash of 2008 and the daily mutiny of life. There is a lot.

And because we want to do this life we have with as much joy as possible, I had to let some things go.

Pie crust is one of those things.

Photo by saveur.com

Photo by saveur.com

Making it from scratch makes a big mess. Perhaps not for everyone, but for me there is flour everywhere. I rarely get to it in time to refrigerate it properly, so there is excessive ice water involved. It works, but it is not ideal.

Ironically I used apple pies to get my hubby to fall in love with me. I would go to church with him on Sundays, then stop at the store and get pie making ingredients. We’d have dinner and pie for dessert…with homemade crust.

As I have matured I realized that doesn’t illustrate my failure as a current-day pie maker, but the necessity of embracing seasons. This is not the season for homemade crust.

Letting go of such things truly allows this to be a season of gratitude. In that spirit, I am again linking up with Kelley at Mrs. Disciple.

I am grateful for prayer. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. My house was clean. I had all the shopping done early. The night before as I went to bed the pies were baked, the turkey stuffed, the mashed potatoes finished, the table set and the kitchen cleaned.

That is astounding for me…completely out of character.

But I have been praying for God to work on my laziness…to fashion and mold my character. I have asked dear friends to pray for me.

This Thanksgiving was a victory.

I want to keep in mind overcoming my laziness is not so that I can add more to my world; it is so I can do the things already in my world with greater excellence.

I am grateful for breathing room. We had a different gathering last night. A few faces who are always welcome, but rarely show filled in for others who are usually here, but not this year.

It provided breathing room.

Life is messy. Relationships are hard. Sometimes breathing room is valuable; restorative; invigorating.

I discovered that relational breathing room allowed for more energy to get things done. It shocked me…what an effect that had. It is causing me to look around and reevaluate.

I am grateful I am a terrible housekeeper. Obviously not always, because chaos depletes life. And, of course, I can’t and don’t let myself off the hook because God won’t let me.

But there are times when a family game of poker is more important than an empty sink.

When people have a long drive ahead of them after we gather, how will I choose to spend time with them? Doing dishes and sweeping floors or laughing and talking?

I don’t even struggle with this.

As our guests were leaving one said, “I feel so bad leaving you with all those dishes.”

“I am the kind of person who can totally sleep with a dirty kitchen,” I confessed.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Here’s the reality I often remind myself of: “There are benefits and drawbacks to all things.” All things. Clean people often miss out on moments. Messy people have to deal with the piles in the morning. I am trying to find a balance for the everyday, but yesterday I was glad to be able to easily let it go.

I am grateful for the ability to cook. I love when the smell of turkey and stuffing fills my home. I love watching my youngest devour mashed potatoes. I love how much my middle daughter looks forward to pumpkin chiffon pie.

Why don’t I gather more people around my table more often?

I am figuring that out.

But when I do, I really enjoy the smells and sights and flavors of good food.

It is not too much work for me, as it can be for others. I enjoy it.

Part of the reason I enjoy it is I am comfortable with store bought pie crust.

I am grateful for my family. Aching, stretching, beautiful gratitude fills me. I am happy to be married, and to have the marriage work for us. We are flawed. In many ways we have low expectations which leaves room for wonder.

We know the areas of our lives that need work…we are working on those places. We are so much less likely to get rattled today than we were years ago. In many corners the hard edges have been knocked off, not by the battles and disappointments but by surviving them.

I am so happy to be a mom. Sometimes I wish I were a better one, but mostly I realize that there is no such thing as perfection in parenting.  Each of my three kids, different as they are from one another, is a precious gift from a God who loves me.

Back when I gathered on Tuesday nights to study the Bible with friends, we would begin by making gratitude lists. Gratitude is imperative in my life…Yesterday and everyday.



Five Senses

Five Senses

Aaaahhhhh…that Kelly over at Mrs Disciple. She is younger than I am, but I still want to be more like her when I grow up. She is consistent and dedicated, and her Friday 5 Link Up seems to be the only thing I can manage these days.

Five Senses is today’s call. I am certain she means seeing, tasting, hearing etc., but I am a brat and I am struggling, so I am going in another direction.

SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT. When I allow the poison of entitlement to seep into my thoughts, discontentment overflows.

It is not pretty.

The sense of victimhood bosses my emotions and reactions around like a military officer at boot camp.

There is shouting. There is anger. There is a loss of control.

Dr. Phil says that feeling like a victim is the root of rage. I have lived that. I hate that part of me.

This last week I have battled feeling entitled to help for my daughter, money in my bank account, recognition for my ideas, and being right.

Sigh. Haven’t I come farther than this?

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.” Psalm 51:10

Now that I acknowledge my sense of entitlement, I can give it (again) to the Lord.

SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG. What a week for this.

Most can agree on what is wrong…rounding people up in a music hall and shooting them; blowing yourself up with the specific intention of killing other people; killing for the sole purpose of creating chaos and gaining power. All of that is so, so wrong.

But the perspectives on the right thing to do about it have divided and destroyed many opportunities for reasonable conversation. Christians against Christians, right-wing verses left-wing, so many people have said so many horrible things about one another.

I am disgusted stunned by it.

There is room to feel vulnerable. There should be a feeling of compassion somewhere in our hearts that turns into action. There can be wisdom.

Whether we want to admit it or not, there will be people who hate us no matter what we do…and who are willing to die in order to destroy us. But that is not an entire race or religion.

Facebook is the least productive, but sometimes only available, place to have the discussion.

I believe in a sense of right and wrong, but I want to live it out more often in the framework of Acts 2:42: They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Lord, please help me.

SENSE OF WONDER. Sometimes I wonder why things go the way they do. My questions, when turned inward, can breed anger and dissatisfaction. Turned toward the Lord and His word, it can bring a sense of wonder.

“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of  Your wonders.” Psalm 9:1

Of course right now I don’t actually want to…back to the aforementioned brattiness and struggle. But now that I am facing my feelings and incorrect thoughts, there is much more hope that my want-to will line up with my beliefs.

SENSE OF AWE. There have been sunsets this week that have taken my breath away. There have been the most spectacular shooting stars dancing in the night sky. There is my hubby, who is still with me 20 years of marriage later.


Moments BlogNone of those things actually make sense to me.

How can one sleeping sun create that many colors in the sky? How, with the stars too many to count, was I looking at the one that decided to ignite itself across the horizon? Why do we still love each other when the pressures of life descend relentlessly?

I really don’t get it, but I really do love it.

SENSE OF GRATITUDE. It all builds to this when I let it.

Gratitude is a choice.

Gratitude is a decision.

Gratitude is a discipline.

And gratitude is the most effective hope I have for pulling out of this funk.

“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.

Even when I am struggling, He lives to make intercession for me. Even when I am bratty, He lives to make intercession for me. Even when I am ungrateful, He lives to make intercession for me. Even when awe eludes me, He lives to make intercession for me. Even when I am questioning, He lives to make intercession for me. Even when things go wrong, He lives to make intercession for me. Even when I am entitled, He lives to make intercession for me.

It is the only thing that helps my life make sense.


5 Dinner Guests

5 Dinner Guests

My friend Kelly from Mrs. Disciple has a Friday 5 link up each week. AAaaaanndddd each week I tell myself I am going to “DO THIS THING!” Then each week I don’t.

Maybe this time I will.

5 Dinner Guests is SUCH an intriguing concept. In fact, my hubby and I already discussed ours this morning over coffee in the hot tub. (A favorite morning activity…soaking, chatting, watching the night sky disappear in the daylight.)

Here goes:



Clearly I like words. If this is insight into my life, I am most definitely in a season longing for growth and learning, and this list of 5 proves it.

1.) Antonin Scalia. My father was a Superior Court Judge who served as president of the California Judge’s Association. His father was also a lawyer who clerked for Earl Warren. If Grandpa Hal had not died at 43, there is every likelihood he would have gone with Earl Warren to clerk for him in the Supreme Court.

It is in my blood.

Mr. Scalia is brilliant. His judicial acumen and ability to write decisions that illuminate application for the common man are inspiring. My brain might hurt after, and I would likely have to write things down to look up later, but it would be fascinating.

2.) Stanley Greenspan. This one’s tough. He died in 2010, but before his death he was a pioneer in brain development and special needs diagnosis and treatment. His work on “floor time” was revolutionary.

“Floortime meets children where they are and builds upon their strengths and abilities through creating a warm relationship and interacting. It challenges them to go further and to develop who they are rather than what their diagnosis says.”stanleygreenspan.com

That makes me cry.

The ability to collaborate with, learn from and listen to a man of his expertise would be life changing for my daughter.

3.) Hyrum Smith. He is the founder of the Franklin Quest Company and author of the book  The Ten Natural Laws of Successful Time & Life Management. He is one of the most powerful speakers I have ever seen, and his book is life changing.

“Natural laws are fundamental patterns of nature and life that human experience and testing have shown to be valid. They describe things as they really are, as opposed to how we think they are or how we wish they were.” page 12

Well said. Walking through his process of figuring out my governing values was brutally insightful. Putting priorities in order is a skill that I have carried into many, many other situations.

You can only ever have one #1 priority at any given moment. Accepting that is freeing.

4.) Albert Mohler. (Could also be John MacArthur…either/or.) Mohler is a theologian and apologist I deeply respect. His reverence for the Lord inspires me.

Growing in my understanding and application of God’s word is of the most importance to me. I LOVE to fill my brain with Scripture. Talking about how to apply it and live life helping others to do the same is something that would keep my attention raptured for hours and hours and hours.

What a joy that would be.

5.) Lysa Terkeurst. “We have to put our hearts and minds in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters.” Exactly.

Lysa is married to a business owner, is a mom, started a ministry, writes and speaks. She is passionate about applying Biblical truth to life.

She does what I do times a million, with far greater excellence.

She is my hero.

She is funny. She is moving. She is insightful.

And most importantly she is an example.

Both times I went to the Proverbs 31 Conference SHE SPEAKS, I was gobsmacked by how humble and edifying the entire team was. I had never seen women treat each other that way before, and I wanted more of it.

When I read this blog of hers, I was a devoted fan forever.

I would be a better person for interacting with those 5… What about you? Who are YOUR 5 DINNER GUESTS?