Linking up with CMB this summer!

I am a Christian…the Christ-follower for real I should love my neighbor and God, turn the other cheek, I’m not a super-saint or ever want to be kind of Christian.

I am a mommy…five kiddos if I have counted correctly…and I have, over and over again. Got to keep a head count or I WILL LOSE ONE OF THEM. All from me and my hubby. I would say all natural, but surgery was a big part of bringing them into this world, so I will say they are home-grown but doc delivered.

I am a blogger. Or whatever you call someone who writes their heart, puts it into the unknown and hopes that SOMEONE like you lovely person will read it. I aspire to be a blogger you and your friends love to read but I intend to continue to be real. I will take intent over aspiration any day.

With that thought of intention in mind, I would like to announce that I will be a guest blogger for Christian Mommy Blogger sometime this summer! I will keep you posted. I am very excited and humbled that Nikki & Leigh Ann would allow me to bring words of encouragement to their readers. I will update you as the date comes closer.

Thanks for listening and thanks Christian Mommy Blogger for the opportunity! Check them out!

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FMF: In Between

connecting ME {N} U through link ups

I’m trying something new. I’m linking up with FIVE MINUTE FRIDAYS to exercise my skills in writing and creating and connecting. Hope you enjoy these bonus posts! Hope I can keep them up every Friday! Want more information? Check them out

Five Minute Friday

TODAYS TOPIC : In Between…

Sounds like a song. Some beautiful melody which connects almost anything. In between two people, two essences, two time frames, two situations. It’s a bridge for sure. Connecting. Forever connecting.

It could be a love song or a song of distress. In between could also block. Something so huge. Impassable. The notes are distinct, played in minor key. The in between is seen but unmoveable. So sad. The melody lingers, unresolved, wanting to give more but it just can’t.

The in between. A definite place with its own boundaries and confines. Like the music it reveals, relationships are involved. You need two things to connect in between. You need two objects for in between to exist.

How can I today make my in betweens sound sweet to our ears?

Summertime ME{N}U: Fake Corn with Real Butter

There are some words I love…

You look great, honey. And so slim!

Mom, you’re the best!

We won!

There’s chocolate for dessert.

And…MADE WITH REAL BUTTER!

Butter and a butter knife

I splurge on very few things. Ok, I tend to look for reasons to splurge on just about anything. But, there are a couple of things in this life for which I will pay top dollar. One of those things is REAL BUTTER, made with real cream. No other junk included. One of the other things is toilet paper. (I refuse to be caught with a cheap product that doesn’t go the distance if you know what I mean.)

I have my favorite brand of real butter and I stick with it whether I have a coupon or not. Why? The taste of course! Oh my goodness the taste! Real butter tastes better in almost everything.

I said almost everything.

Real and Fake Don’t Mix

Real butter does not do anything for fake corn. I know because I am a self-proclaimed popcorn expert.

courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: digitalarts

I have learned from the best (my family). We are persnickety about our popcorn ingestion. Real butter is a no brainer. Good popcorn has to have real butter, but the butter can only go as far as the corn will take it. I have tried to cut costs supporting my real butter habit by buying the cheapie popcorn kernels with the fake brand to pop in my air popper (which pops the fluffiest corn). You usually do get what you pay for. Cheapie kernels don’t pop well, the burn easily, and just taste different. No good I say. Not even real butter can mask the nasty of a fake corn. And life is too short to eat bad popcorn.

My Popcorn = My Life

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: aopsan

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: aopsan

While snacking on the good stuff and thinking about my life, I see the same pattern as the popcorn. Real and fake don’t mix. With my life, I am constantly choosing whether I am going to invest in the real or try to get by with the cheapie instead. A relationship sprinkled with fake bonds will prove to be unstable and unreliable. An education that has taken shortcuts in order to receive a good grade loses the quality of learning which is the reason for the education in the first place. Parenting when it is convenient for me leaves children of low character and cheapens not only the family but our society as a whole. Keeping up appearances to impress others in my life often leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Being real with who I am, with all my imperfections, whether I impress you or not, never does. I do not want to live a fake popcorn life.

How about you?

Life involves Me & You. I want to let you know that you are better REAL.

We’re not that different and I can hear you telling me that I don’t have to be anyone else. I can be who I am. Leave all the judgers behind. I agree! And you should, too! There’s only One in my life who I care completely what He thinks of me. Only One who can forgive me 100% all the time so that I don’t have to be perfect. I can be REAL. I can be me. And you can, too.

Don’t forget this fact either: Real butter doesn’t just happen. It has to go through a process before it is ready to be used. I am still in process, too. So be patient with me and I will be patient with you. If we all did that maybe we could live a more genuine life.

So as you eat lots of popcorn with real butter remember real is good for you. Real tastes better. You deserve real. Go ahead and splurge on what matters…YOU.

Keeping it real and staying…

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg

Summertime ME{N}U: Farmer’s Market Delights

I do admire farmers.

They are hard-working, self-sustaining, and take-pride-in-their-trade kind of people. I don’t ever want to be one, but I will shop at their markets! I first learned of farmers markets living in the grand city of Minneapolis. The whispers of freshness in the forms of produce and plants spoke poetically to this city gal who had very little time connecting to anything not store bought. I had to check to it out.

English: Copley Square Farmer's Market

English: Copley Square Farmer’s Market 

           I was a little disappointed.

I didn’t see any farmers.

Oh they were there. I was greatly impressed with the amount of affordable market delights that brought life to the normally dead concrete slabs full of similarly deadpan business people. Here folks were smiling, eating well, and smelling flowers. But I didn’t notice any farmers. At least not any of the kind I was looking for.

Why was I looking for farmers? Because I am an avid people watcher, and I, being the city girl I am, wanted to gawk at the overalls and flannels that one would suspect farmers selling their wares in the market would wear. A piece of hay sticking out of their mouths would also add a nice touch. But everyone I saw looked average, normal. No overalls. No hey straw cigarettes. No gawking.

I wonder if the farmers were expecting to see some city girl with lots of tattoos, babies with no daddies, and gang affiliated attire. I have no tats (except the ones my children draw on me when I’m distracted), all my babies have the same daddy (and I know where he is) and I am not knowingly affiliated with any sect of any gang. I probably disappointed them, too, at first. Then I bought their stuff. A relationship bloomed instantly.

Even though my predetermined expectations were wrong, I still left the market with more than I came in to it.

Correction can surprisingly934736_620006918026593_1354997685_n lead to delightful outcomes

Presently I have moved from the city and  live in more country than I ever thought I would, and I have learned that  even farmers bring markets to themselves (I live in a town with lots of farmers). At our local market, I was again struck with a sight I was not expecting. A nice man, 6’2″ with a good sized frame, was selling his wares…a table full of homemade knitted delights. At the table next to him was another “man’s man” selling…potted flowers. I had to double take at these gentlemen. Neither one looked like they should have been matched with their wares. Did this big guy really use those bear paws to knit? Was his friend really fascinated with purple poppies? (That’s all he was selling.) I expected little grannies and green thumbed homemakers doing that. Not these guys. Upon further detection I discovered that the goods they were pushing were in fact not theirs. The knits…his mother’s doing but she could not be there. He was the loving son stepping in. The flowers guy…selling plants as a fund raiser for a local school. I stood corrected. These men were not who they seemed but refreshingly different from what I had anticipated.

Isn’t it funny how life, if you let it, can surprise, even delight you when you take the time to connect?

Our worlds in a sense run like a farmer’s market. Everyone selling something or another. This one her blog. That one his book. The other one her recipe  his brand, his ideals, her business. I can’t help but bring my own prejudged thoughts and misgivings to each encounter. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Other times extremely disappointed. But every time, at least I am connecting with someone or something that is helping me to make a better me by interacting with a never to be duplicated, given life on purpose you.

I continue to struggle with classic by the cover book judgement and uneducated expectations, but I’m learning. I’m learning to ask questions much like kids do. Two of my most engaging inquiries: Why? and How come? Greatness usually follows in some simple form like: “Because I don’t grow hay.” That’s the answer from one farmer about the hay cigarette. Ok, not really, but it could be.

Imagine how delightful these life markets would be if we stopped gawking at the farmers and kept our focus on the delights they have to share. We could end up with a lot of new and edifying relationships..and farm fresh goodness!

Simon Howden: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Simon Howden: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Enjoy your summer and I hope you are pleasantly delighted at the connections life brings!

You keep connecting and I’ll stay,

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This Week’s Just Desserts: Let me eat birthday cake!

Let me eat cake!

This post greets me near my next birthday and that means…BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Image curtesy of Idea go/freedigitalphotos.com

Image courtesy of Idea go/freedigitalphotos.com

My birthday is one of my favorite holidays (yes I said holiday and yes you should be able to stay home from work) because I really enjoy eating cake. As a matter of fact, when I became an official adult my rite of passage was to devour cake for breakfast. That’s right! My birthday, my rules! My birthday is the only day in the year set aside where:

  • I celebrate another milestone that is my life
  • I eat cake first at every meal
  • I become the object of celebration for anyone touched by my life

See why I enjoy them? But does anyone else see the problem here? I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with the word one.

Why do I celebrate life only ONE day?

I mean, we are alive each one of those  365 days in that year, right? I believe a quirky character with a need for good counseling and a hat fetish had it right when he partied for every happy un-birthday. Why are birthdays the only time I celebrate life when in reality each day is a gift (like the quote says, “that’s why it’s called the present”.)

Image curtesy of master isolated images/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of master isolated images/freedigitalphotos.net

At least that’s what the clingy stuck to my wall says. I wake up to that saying each morning, but I do not live like it. Do you? Aren’t you worth celebrating?  How do we stop talking about living life to the fullest and actually start living it?

I'm glad you asked!

Let’s start by eating CAKE.

C–Choose to Celebrate each day by giving thanks.

A heart full of gratitude can make even the worst day a bit better. Someone, somewhere has it far worse than you. Thankfulness doesn’t change our situations, but it doesn’t hurt either.

A–Ask yourself how you can make this day memorable.

Every birthday, my mom stayed up late or got up early to make sure our birthday banners, balloons, and posters were plastered everywhere the minute we cracked open our eyes. That memory stays with me reminding me how I was special to someone, and now I do the same for my children and my husband.

K–Keep a theme song handy.

No, I’m not kidding. Birthdays, and most celebrations if you think about it, carry a tune with them. I enjoy going to a restaurant and hearing underpaid, overworked people wearily slur, I mean, sing to me, “Happy, happy birthday from all of us to you. We wish it was our birthday, so we could party, too!”  Theme songs make everything more celebratory. You don’t have to go around singing it but having a tune in your heart helps keep you positive and on the lookout for good things to happen. And a cheerful heart does your body good. Even the most ordinary day can surprise you with an extraordinary event so be on the lookout for it. And if it doesn’t come today, then maybe…”Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…” (I bet you finished singing that in your head didn’t you! Good theme song.)

E–EAT CAKE!

Don’t drop your diets or blame your next ten pounds on me, trust me baby #5 left enough jiggling poundage behind for ME {N} U. But take a moment in your day to treat yourself. Your “cake” may be a run in the park (which is fine, but please don’t look down on us cake eaters and we won’t trip you). Your “cake” may be..well…actual cake! Whatever it is, enjoy it and gather someone else around to enjoy it with you.

Birthday Cake was never meant to be eaten alone.

Image curtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Birthday celebrations are always better surrounded by friends and loved ones. Maybe those surrounding you are not ideal, but they are in your life, quite possibly for a good reason. Find ways to bring more CAKE into your life and find good quality people with whom you can share.

You were created on purpose, for a purpose, so celebrate today…and every day!

image curtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalimages.net

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalimages.net

God made you on purpose. Your life was not a mistake and neither was mine. Every breath we take gives  us one more chance to see and do something no one else can do because there is no other you and there is no other me. We can not ever be duplicated to the exact same person. And YOU and I have something to offer this world. Our birthdays and unbirthdays are events excellent enough to celebrate so eat that cake up!  And save me a slice!

A Very Happy Unbirthday to ME {N} U,

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