June 25, 2008

The prayer that never fails

It’s a hard one to pray. But I guess it’s worth the hardship. Lord, Your will be done. Simple. Hard to mean. But freeing.

Trust me… at this point, I’m practically an expert on this!

On the lighter side of things… Ladybug and Wild Thing were out in the yard today, playing and doing things that kids do in a big yard with lots of grass, dirt, sticks, and rocks. They found a couple of sticks and started poking them in the dirt. Then Ladybug found a shovel and started digging. I think Wild Thing must have used the stick, ah, let’s say "inappropriately", (he smacked her with it) and was rewarded with a scoop of dirt on his head. I can predict that there’s a bath in his near future…

June 24, 2008

Simple Instructions

I was reading today and came across these verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Now how direct and to the point is THAT? There’s no beating around the bush there. No hemming and hawing. No soft-shoeing those orders. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances. Why? Because I belong to Christ Jesus and that’s what God wants me to do.

The trouble is, those are three things that are really difficult to do. Especially in hard times. Or tired times. Or sad times. Or busy times. Can’t be thankful for THAT hard situation. I’m too TIRED to be joyful. Pray? I hardly have time to do the laundry, let alone pray. Ya know?

But it’s so direct. It’s so to the point. It’s so, well, so black and white. There’s no arguing with it. There’s no way to reinterpret it so that it reads “Be joyful when you feel like it. Pray when it crosses your mind to do so. Be thankful for the good times, because God suggests that it’s maybe a good idea if you get around to these things.”

I guess it could be worse. Right? I mean, it could say something like “Always sleep on the floor. Never take a shower. Be full of glee every time you clean the bathroom.”

So really, how hard is it to always be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful in every situation? I don’t know. Yet. I’m going to try it. Because darned if I’ll spend the next three weeks with my family in a petrified haze, worried about what’s going to happen, unable to appreciate the time I do have with them.

The bald fact of the matter is that the instructions are simple, direct, and crystal clear. And disobedience isn’t an option.

June 21, 2008

A Positive Sign


I’m pregnant. Surprisingly, delightfully, nauseatingly pregnant. And I’m thrilled.

I see this as a swift, reassuring act of mercy. There are those that will disagree, but I don’t really care. Because all of a sudden, there is some certainty for me in a very uncertain future. And if that isn’t solace for my soul, then I don’t know what is.

June 10, 2008

I wish my name was Jane Doe

I’m anonymous. I admit that. I don’t want people to know my name, or my children’s names, or where we live, or what I do. The situation that I’m in right now is very sensitive and creates in me an intense need for privacy. The only reason I’m writing a blog is because, by satisfying my need for privacy, I have created a place of isolation. And isolation is awful. At least by writing anonymously I can feel like I’m telling my story, sharing my feelings, and I can be candid --- or at least try to be candid, while still preserving that privacy.

But now? I really do wish my name was Jane Doe. I wish I didn’t have a distinctive, unusual first name. I wish my parents didn’t have such a distinctive last name. I mean, the only people in the United States with our last name are all closely related to us. Cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I wish I hadn’t lived in this community my whole life. I wish I could be as anonymous in real life as I am in this blog.

Why? Because yesterday I did something – something big. I pled guilty to all the charges they have leveled against me. I stood there, next to my attorney, and gave up my right to a jury trial. I gave up the right to testify on my own behalf. The right to appeal. The right to be presumed innocent. The right to bear arms, to vote, to participate in society. Because in all likelihood, I will be incarcerated. Go to jail. Live in the slammer.

And yes, I’m being flippant because this is such a huge, weighty thing that I’m afraid it may crush me. It’s not a laugh or cry situation, it’s a laugh or have a nervous breakdown situation.

Ever heard the superchick song Beauty From Pain? There’s a line in the song that says “The lights go out all around me/One last candle to keep out the night/And then the darkness surrounds me/I know I’m alive but I feel like I’ve died.” I feel like I’m dying a slow death, counting down the 35 days, just five weeks, before I face sentencing. And will probably disappear from the lives of my children for years. YEARS. “And all that’s left is to accept that it’s over/My dreams ran like sand through the fist that I’ve made.”

Ok, in my mind I know that someday I’ll be able to look back, see how I’ve been changed, become better, by this situation. But now? Oh boy.

After all this has passed, I still will remain/After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain/Though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again/And there’ll be beauty from pain/You will bring beauty from my pain.

Here I am at the end of me/Trying to hold to what I can’t see/I forgot how to hope/This night’s been so long/I cling to Your promise there will be a dawn

And we know that IN ALL T HINGS God works for the GOOD of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plan to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a HOPE and a FUTURE.”

June 5, 2008

Welcome to Opposite World

Or should I say farewell, thanks for coming?

Welcome to the land of the three year old. Ladybug has always been a, well, how shall I put this? She’s always been a spirited little thing. She’s busy, full of energy, and great at articulating what she wants. Even from when she was first talking, she’d use full sentences – “I want a cookie” versus just “cookie.” Like any child, manners aren’t included, and you can’t even pay more for an upgrade, so we have said our fair share of “I didn’t hear any polite words” or “Can you think of a kind way to ask for that?”

Lately, she has gone from mere “spirited” to downright contrary. As in, thanks for stopping by here in Opposite World. Don’t eat your applesauce. Don’t kiss Papa goodnight. Don’t give Wild Thing a hug. Don’t drink your milk.

What’s especially wearing in all of this is that on Monday, I get to, how to put this? Face the music? Only that sounds a little too cheerful. Maybe that’s fitting for here in Opposite World.

June 3, 2008


We kissed and made up. I know that I have a lot more changing to do, as does the Man of the House. We are both people who are far from perfect. So yes, things happen. Heck, why beat around the bush? He does things that are inconsiderate and thoughtless and it hurts my feelings. And being told that he “can’t” change feels like he is really saying “I don’t love you enough to try to change.” But God, the epitome of perfection, still puts up with me every day. So in the same way that I am loved and shown mercy, I will endeavor to love and show mercy. And yup, I’m definitely going to do things that make him mad and irritate him, somewhere down the road, no matter how hard I try. That’s not defeatist, that’s reality. But we’ll stick through it together. That’s what marriage and commitment and love are all about. Right?

SO. On to more interesting things.

I’m making a sausage bean soup and No Knead Bread for dinner tonight. YUM. Maybe you’re not a sausage bean soup person, and I’m not really either. But it’s good. Really. It has cilantro in it. And the broth is really great. Perfect for sopping up with some crusty bread.

There are many who would say that talking about bean soup and bread are not more interesting than, well, anything. If you were here to eat the bread and soup, I think you would disagree.

Here’s a picture of the bread:

And it’s so easy. Here’s the recipe:

3 cups flour (all-purpose, unbleached)

1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water, room temp

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp mild-flavored beer (such as Budweiser, or I use mild-non-alcoholic lager like O’Doul’s)

1 Tbsp white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour form bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

2. Lay 12x18-sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

I can never keep my family out of it, so we end up cutting it and eating it warm. It’s best eaten the day it is baked, but can be wrapped in foil and stored in a cool place for up to 2 days. Just re-warm it in the oven. SO GOOD. And super easy. No mixer required!!

June 1, 2008

Spare Change

Speaking as a person who has changed a lot over the past four years, it is infuriating when I’m told by the Man of the House that “This is who I am. I just can’t change.”

Spare me.