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Why

I am attending a funeral today for a nineteen year old who committed suicide. Please look around and notice the teens that God has placed in your life.

See them, and tell them that you see them. Then listen to them as much as they will talk. Then speak hope and life into them.

Please take four minutes to listen to this beautiful song and read the stats on teen suicide in our country. It’s alarming and it’s real.

 

Calm Before the Storm

Photo (59)Anybody got a crazy week planned? We sure do! Looking ahead I see very little breathing room, with meetings or responsibilities each night. Ironically, yesterday was a quiet day for us, which gave me some time to prepare for the onslaught. One way that I get ready is to cook components of dinner ahead of time, so I grilled all the vegetables I had on hand. I simply chopped everything, poured a little grapeseed oil and seasoning (I think it was tarragon this time) and threw it all on the grill. The corn was simply slathered in butter, salt and pepper.

Now I can pull out flank steak, chicken or shrimp and marinate it for the day. Cook the protein while making a grain like rice, quinoa or grits and re-heat the veggies. Or I could leave off the meat and simply add them to some fresh pasta with olive oil and tomatoes. We keep Tandoori Naan on hand for a quick bread to complete the meal. The corn will be used as an ingredient in a soup or salsa this week. I don’t know about you, but I need to feel like I have a plan, or fool myself into thinking that I have one! With this simple step accomplished, we will actually have real food on the table this week, even if we only sit at the table for a few minutes!

 

Wish You Were Here

wishMy guy is in Vegas for the weekend, staying at a triple five star hotel as a rewards trip for some customers.  A triple five means that it has earned the five star title as a hotel, a restaurant and a spa and there are only 13 hotels in the world that have this title. Last night’s dinner was many courses long with a wine pairing for each course and today the customers will race Ferrari’s on an open track. Tough weekend. I have been on many trips with my guy over the years, and we had planned for me to be able to join him on this once in a lifetime one, but the opportunity just fell apart as the time came closer; we are in a season where it’s not only difficult, it’s really not even responsible for both of us to leave our family. Sometimes when this reality hits I can feel sorry for myself or even mourn the fact that I’m missing some wonderful excursion with my guy. But last night when he texted me, saying, ‘I wish you were here’, I actually found myself thinking, ‘no way’….

Last night I had the opportunity to witness all three of my children be their best selves, stepping into the roles that God has laid out for each of them. In the matter of two hours I watched one young adult give her heart to the vulnerable, I saw another handle a difficult situation with grace and maturity and then I witnessed the progression of another moving from heartbreak to taking on the yoke of leadership. I had a front row, breathtaking view of the show of a lifetime last night, and all I could think was two things: To God be the glory, and man, I wish my guy was here!

I was reminded last night that even though we make good plans for ourselves, God always has better ones. I am so grateful that I got to stay back, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and watch the show!

Here are the 13 Triple 5 star hotels: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestravelguide/2014/02/11/forbes-travel-guides-13-most-elite-five-star-properties-of-2014/
 

Teen Wisdom

coasterA secret to parenting your teenager? Refuse to get on the roller coaster with her. Be willing to stand on solid ground and watch her ride, waving as she goes by. But never, ever strap yourself in beside her.

Your teen doesn’t really want someone sitting next to her, she needs someone who is stable and consistent, someone who cares enough to watch the entire ride. And is there as she walks away from the coaster, ready for the next big adventure.

Focus

eyechartLast week our daughter visited the eye doctor, we thought she had an infection but it was simply an irritation, no big deal. I don’t normally go into the exam room with our girl anymore because she is old enough to communicate her needs at this point, but I was invited this time. Georgia has exceptionally poor eyesight, not able to recognize any one or any thing without her contacts or glasses. I learned years ago to say very little to her when waking her in the morning, because it’s so disorienting to her to not be able to see, and yet be expected to communicate. First thing in the morning.

So, the eye doctor had Georgia remove her glasses so he could examine her, but began asking her questions with his back turned to her. I watched as my daughter went from a vibrant, focused young woman to a limp, empty little girl in that chair. She simply looked down and off to the side, away from anything and flatly answered questions. The doctor examined her and eventually had her put her glasses back on. Instantly, she was smiling and making eye contact; it was like the difference between being asleep and awake. I asked her about the encounter as we were leaving and she said it’s not worth it to try so hard to focus on anything when she knows she cannot see it, so she just gives up.

Instantly I understood how she felt. Oh God, forgive me for so often taking my focus off of You, for removing my glasses and losing sight of what’s truly important, for being so quick to simply give up.

I am thankful for the fact that my daughter lives in a time when her weakness can be made strong, someone with her vision a few generations ago would be regarded as useless. I’m also thankful for the reminder that my weaknesses can be made strong if I just keep my focus on God.

Homemade Beef Stock

roast-beef-stock-940x600I may appear way more industrious than I really am with this recipe, just know that there is a good reason why I am taking the time to make my own stock. We have some joint and ligament issues in our family, and it has been suggested to provide my people with gelatin, a natural part of bone marrow. Apparently, previous generations didn’t have the problems we do because they ate from the whole cow, or the whole bird, and not just the choice cuts. The gelatin inside the bones of animals is a vital ingredient missing in our American diet. So….I am roasting bone marrow pieces and then simmering them for hours, and grossing my vegetarian out in new ways. I lifted the recipe straight from Bon Appetit, and even the picture because my stock doesn’t look this appetizing. I am counting on it to enhance our stews and soups with flavor and gelatin this winter!

 

Homemade Beef Stock

5 lbs. beef marrow bones

4 peeled carrots

4 celery stalks

2 halved peeled oninons

1  halved head of garlic

parsley

thyme

2 bay leaves

peppercorns

 

  • Preheat oven to 450°. Roast marrow bones (have your butcher saw them into pieces) in a roasting pan, turning occasionally, until browned, 25–30 minutes. Cut carrots and celery into 3” pieces; add to pan along with onions and garlic. Roast, turning occasionally, until vegetables are brown, 25–30 minutes.
  • Transfer to a large stockpot; add cold water to cover. Pour off fat from pan, add ½ cup water, and stir, scraping up browned bits; add liquid to pot along with parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 4 hours, occasionally skimming foam and fat from surface and adding water as needed. Strain.
  • DO AHEAD: Stock can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Or see it here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/roast-beef-stock#

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

beanOver the years our children have stretched our thinking in so many areas, and in these last few months we have had another opportunity to view life in another way. Our daughter is no longer going to college. We weren’t shocked this summer when she came to us and suggested taking some time off; she had had a great first year but was feeling like she was supposed to be doing something more. As her parents we wanted to encourage and support, but struggled with our role in the decision-making. My guy had similar doubts twenty five years prior, told his parents and was informed that basically he needed to get over it and get back to the grind. But this is our strong-willed, mission-minded girl who sees the world differently than most. I had the feeling that forcing her to go back to school would be an exercise in futility. And a waste of time and money. I have no doubt that Jessica could play the game and earn a degree and be a stepping stone closer to whatever it is that we are all working towards. But is that the point? She is learning that just because she can go to college doesn’t mean she should.

My generation has been sold a story that when our kids hit that last year of high school, they should have a plan and a scholarship to a major school. As parents we need to remember that colleges are for profit, a commodity sold to so many people who don’t really need it. Universities were originally built to educate the finest minds only, and over time have been made available to anyone who is willing to pay for them. I firmly believe that this next generation will question the validity of their educations against the amount of the school debt accrued, and begin to look for creative ways to get what they need to succeed in today’s environment.

Recently she told me that when someone asks her how school is going and she informs them that she’s not there anymore, the response is normally a knee-jerk,”Oh, that’s okay” from whoever she is talking to. Funny, they feel a need to give her permission to do the unusual. But she’s not looking for permission – from her parents or from anyone else. She’s looking for her way. And her way is probably going to be very different than most. Maybe she will end up on another continent helping the vulnerable. Perhaps she will serve others here. My part in this is not to get too caught up in what society says she should be doing, and encourage our girl to seek God’s will for her future. As long as she does that, it’s way more than ‘okay’, it’s perfect.

 

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