Run, Run as Fast as You Can

Close-up of gingerbread man pastry cutter “Run!” they said.  “Don’t. Walk.  Run as fast as you can!” they told me.  Common sense (and the event rules) said otherwise, but I did it.  I listened to those teenagers and I ran as fast as I could towards the homemade slip and slide on the giant hill.  It was terrific for about half a second.  Before my feet shot upwards to the moon and the back of my head smacked the hard ground.  Very.  Hard.

I do not remember much about the rest of that long, awkward slide to the bottom of the hill.  When it was all said and done, I had a throbbing headache, a knot on my head roughly the size of Asia, and not a shred of dignity left.  I think it was what many Broken gingerbread man.would call a humbling experience.  And also an excellent reminder that I am not anywhere close to thirteen anymore.  This little shenanigan also earned me the distinction of having my very first (and hopefully last) concussion diagnosis.  From a homemade slip and slide.  At the urging of teenagers.  You might think this all happened when I was young and stupid, but unfortunately this was only last summer.  *sigh*

Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and try something new.  And sometimes that is a very, very bad idea.  And sometimes it is very difficult to discern between the two.  As much as I like to paint myself conservative, I crave the thrill of doing something totally different.

Yesterday, Lovey was telling me her Bible story from her Sunday class.  It was Jonah and the Whale.  She recounted every minute detail, even commenting that Jonah should have paid more attention to his mother when he was growing up.  (Yes!)  Lovey is a fantastic storyteller and as she speaks, we banter.  I intermittently comment and she shoots back and it is always time well-spent.  At one point, I said, “Well, I sure hope a whale doesn’t come and swallow me!”  She was quick to respond with that sassy 4-year-old eye-roll, complete with hand gesture, “Mom.  We live in Iowa.  There is no ocean here.  Not even any water.  Besides you never even leave the house.  You will not get swallowed by a whale… ever!”

First things first.  I am pretty sure I leave the house a lot more than she realizes.   In fact, I feel like I am not here nearly enough.  (Seriously, the proof is in the size of my laundry pile.)  But she definitely got me thinking about the thrill of new adventures, accompanied by a little risk.  Perhaps it is time to try something newish…

Love & Coffee.

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A Morning Moment.

Nothing like watching a hazy, autumn sunrise from the window, swallowed up in a well-loved sweater with a steamy coffee settled between my fingers.  

I revel in the quiet.  But in just moments, this house will spring to life, bursting at the seams with much too much to do in one day.  

(Does anyone else ever look at their calendar and just want to cry?  And, by the way, where did October go?.)

But for now, for just a moment longer, it’s quiet.  And my coffee is still warm.  And the house is still sleeping.  And I will think on this…

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Phillipians 4.13 (NIV)


Love & Coffee.

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The Old-Fashioned Way.

I sauntered into the kitchen, intent on whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I sneaked.  I was discrete.  But I got caught.  

“Mommy!  I want to help in the kitchen,” Lovey said.  She is my helper.  She is always there.  If I am in the kitchen, she is glued to me.  And most days, I don’t mind.  I welcome the company and the playful banter of my sweet Lovey.  But today, I just wanted… to be.  To think, uninterrupted.  To ponder, uninhibited.  

I tried to dissuade her.  

“I’m going to be very boring in here.  I am going to do dishes and not even turn on the radio.”  (Which was mostly the truth, because I still had a sink chock full of lunch dishes and random containers from my morning fridge-cleaning session.) 

She took the bait and decided just this once to go watch Max & Ruby.   

But then…

Ladybug appeared in the kitchen doorway.  “I want to do dishes.”  

Perhaps I had heard wrongly.  “I’m sorry, WHAT?”

“I want to do dishes.”

I have this weird control-freak thing, especially when it comes to my kitchen, however, I am trying really, really hard to just let go and let my girlies do more things. Even if they are done the wrong way at first.  Freedom to fail, right?

“Ummmm… okay.  Well, how about you rinse these off and arrange them in the dishwasher like so.”  This was also really hard for me, because I am notoriously particular about how things are arranged in the dishwasher.  

“No, Mom.  I want to do it the old-fashioned way.  You know, I just want to scrub them in the sink.”

“Wouldn’t you rather help me bake cookies?” I urged.  (So much for the just being thing.)

“Mom, don’t you just get a great feeling when you do things the old-fashioned way?  Like you baking cookies from scratch?  Or when you make laundry soap?  It’s like you really worked on it and made it special and it feels good, doesn’t it?  I just want to do that to the dishes.”

*crickets chirping*  (And seriously, there is a random cricket chirping in the far corner of the office as I write.)

“Okaaaayyy.  Well, here is the footstool.  And the rag.  And a little soap.  Have at it, Sweet Ladybug.”  

Suddenly, she had made perfect sense to me.  Because I do get that.  I still do all kinds of crazy things like write in a journal, keep a datebook, wear a watch, patch my jeans, and write hand-written thank you notes.  There is something inherently sacred in performing a simple task “the old-fashioned way” that seems to connect me to my childhood, my mother, my late grandmothers.  

And here I sit, enjoying the morning “the old-fashioned way.”  Sunrise and a steamy cup of joe.  


Love & Coffee.

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Still here.

Really, I am.  

We started school.  

(And I cried only a little.)

I have been nursing a concussion.  

(Please, don’t ask.  It’s terribly embarrassing.  And no one even caught it on video so I could win some cash on AFV.  Boo.)

And we said goodbye to summer as we returned from a Labor Day road trip.   

(Which will NOT be happening again anytime soon.  If Google Maps says it will take 5 hours, it will inevitably take us EIGHT.)  

But fall is approaching.  And lovely things are happening outside.  And sweet, delicious coffee is brewing along with wonderful things in my head that I need to write about.

So many good things are coming…

Love & Coffee.

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Tastes like carrots.

I looked at The Man. He matched my stare.  I daintily sipped mine.  He cautiously sampled his.  My mind searched.  His, too.  It must have been mere seconds, but it certainly seemed much more.  Gingerly returning his cup to the saucer, The Man uttered, “It tastes like…”

Carrots?” I offered.

“Yes, carrots.  Exactly like carrots.”

The long-awaited, specially ordered, paid-too-much-for coffee tastes like…

Carrots.

Disappointment abounds.

End.  Of.  Story.

Love & coffee.

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Ringing In.

It is here.  Just like I expected it to be.  A new year ripe with challenges, adventure, and hope.  

Fresh.  Like heaven-dropped frosty flakes sparkling in cool, winter sunbeams. 

Oh-So-New.

So it’s out with the old.  And in keeping with years past, my heart grows faint at the thought of Christmas being packed away for another year.  There is something rather melancholy about an evening drive down a dimly-lit avenue that until only recently was blaring with Christmas cheer.  (Lovey simply cannot understand what has happened to all the pretties.  And I mourn with her.)  But the deed is done. 

We baked. 


We crafted.


We worshipped.
And posed pretty for pictures.

The gifts are now carefully stored away.  Mostly.  (Except for Peanut’s new cell phone which she mostly uses to take pictures of Ladybug’s messy room and report back to me.  Or Ladybug’s stereo for “dancing music” which I can only assume does not have an “off” switch.  Or Lovey’s barking puppy who seems to have no volume control.)  
(And on another side note, I must mention that I received no less than 4 lovely coffee cups, 9 tantalizing new coffees to try, and 2 fuzzy coffee cup cozies.  I am inclined to believe I have developed a reputation for such things.)

As this New Year’s Day draws to a close, I once more reflect on the year now gone.  If I could choose one word to describe it, I would undoubtedly say “Wonder.”  For only a year ago, I would never have guessed that my darling and I would be settling into this dreamy acreage (what an adventure in and of itself).  Or be expecting yet another baby (and be thus far beating the odds of such serious complications).  Or simply watching our sweet little ones grow another year older (please, stop the clock).  
As I plunge into this year, I expect great things.  Big things.  Simple things.  I want to slow down.  Giggle more.  And seize moments.  I want to stop worrying so much about fixing dinner and doing the laundry.  After all, no one has ever gone hungry or naked.  Yet.  And if they did, what a fine story that would be.  

Happy New Year, Coffee Lovers.  Drink up and live well.


Love & Coffee.

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“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.”

Proverbs 3.5-6 (The Message) 

Just plain mean.

I am blind.  Nearly.  Well, sort of.  I am one of those people who pay loads of cash so my “coke bottle” lenses will be be deceivingly thin.  Most days, I just prefer my contacts.  Perhaps one day I will be brave enough to have a go at Lasik surgery, but until then, shenanigans like the following will continue…
It should have been simple.  It should have been easy.  It should have just the way it has always been.  You see, my lovely, eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner are packaged in nearly identical bottles. Except for the small print labeling them “shampoo” and “conditioner,” its rather difficult to tell them apart.  Since I obviously don’t shower with glasses, I have a system:  shampoo on the left, conditioner on the right.  Left to right.  Like reading.  Foolproof.  Almost.
Things were going along swimmingly as I first lathered my hair and rinsed.  I reached for the 2nd bottle.  The right one.  As I am applying the conditioner, I am surprised that my hair still feels rather soapy.  Strange.  Granted I was still rather tired so perhaps I forgot to rinse the shampoo out of my hair?  I fully rinse and try again with the bottle on the right.  I find myself richly lathered.  Again.  I am still groggy.  I can’t recall if I used the bottle on the left or the bottle on the right.  I assumed one of the girls switched the bottles during their shower the evening before.  Rinsing again.  This time, I go left.  Argh!  Fully soaped!  Seriously, what the heck is going on here???  I violently take hold of both bottles clutching them as close to my feeble eyes as possible only to discover they BOTH say “shampoo!”  Super.  I have just shampooed my hair four times and there is no conditioner in sight (no pun intended). 
The jig is up.  I call for hubby.  “Where in God’s green earth is the conditioner???!!!”  
He laughs.  Then smugly replies, “It’s on the other side.” 
Seriously.  Don’t mess with my system.  What a mean trick to pull on a blind girl before her morning joe.  
But on the bright side… my hair is really clean.
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Tricky.

What day is it again?  Oh that’s right. 

Monday. 

Scourge of the week. 

It all started out so good.  Really good.  Things are finally starting to feel normal around here.  I’m about 75% unpacked and the rest has been cleverly stuffed into the “Forget-About-It Room.”  Eventually this room will be presentable as a guest bedroom, but for now… I’d rather just forget about it.

Now I have the delightful task of picking out paint colors for each room, and the slightly less delightful task of removing wallpaper and actually painting.  But at least I can now locate my toothbrush, bake a pie, or do laundry to my little heart’s content. 

Now about that Monday thing.  It really was off to a good start.  Laundry started, kids dressed and fed, and coffee already flowing through my veins.  The kids were pleasantly keeping themselves occupied so I decided to take a few minutes to accomplish a small task I never seem to find time to do:  Figure out how to set my watch.  Not my good watch, but my inexpensive digital watch that I use when I go out walking or take along on a campout.  It’s been incorrect ever since the time changed and I can’t for the life of me figure it out.  It’s unnecessarily bedecked with way too many buttons.  So I sat down to my laptop to call in some reinforcements via Google.  The daRn tutorial instructed me to hold down three ridiculous buttons at the same time.  (see footnote)

And then it happened.

The cursed watch slipped from my grip, into my nearly full cup of coffee, which in my panic to get it out (way more concerned about tainting my coffee at that point), toppled the mug (nearly full, may I remind you) onto my laptop, spilling over onto my datebook (Yes, I still use one.  Don’t judge me.) and soaking my new cell phone in the process.  *sigh*

So it’s Monday morning and every important piece of my life is coffee-soaked, air-drying, and useless for the immediate future.  Thank you to my sweet hubby for trusting me to use his beloved computer in the meantime! 

He asked me if I learned my lesson.  What exactly should I take away from this unfortunate event?

No coffee by the computer?  Never.
Ditch the datebook for a smartphone?  Please, don’t make me.
Kick that hideous watch into oblivion?  A thousand times yes.

I’m off to brew more coffee, shop the internet for new watch, and make my Monday marvelous.

Happy Monday!

(Note: The “R” in daRn is intentional, to avoid looking like I improperly spelled a curse word.)

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Discovery.

Fresh discovery is a wonder.  

Crisp.  
Invigorating.  
Motivating.

My fabulous hubby truly surprised me this past Christmas with a new coffee grinder.  It’s entirely superb and just the thought of using it is enough to propel me out of bed in the morning.  This morning, creativity struck unusually early (before coffee… a serious marvel in itself).  I tossed a bit of cinnamon stick into the grinder along with my beloved beans. 

Perfection.

Nevermind the fact that this Iowa winter is breaking century-old weather records with 60 degree temperatures this week.  I close my eyes, warm cup in hand, and envision a winter wonderland.  The weatherman is suggesting my wish may come true this weekend, in which case, we will finally be breaking out the sleds.  (Woohoo!)

In the meantime, it is 61 degrees and I am taking the kidlets to the library… on foot.

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Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans.