Monthly Archives: January 2012


A conversation at our church-plant pre-launch worship+potluck event last night has prompted me to think about my story. I posted something similar a year ago because we were sharing testimonies with our gal’s bible study, so it seems an annual thing. I was prompted to look through my old journals again (I do this over and over), exclaim at God’s faithfulness to bring answers to prayer and growth to failings…amazing. The same conversation went down that road, too…you know. Married? Kids?

The kind folks interested in getting to know me at church don’t know that stuff yet, so it’s an innocent and fair question. I replied and continued along that congenial getting to know you path…how do you like it here in Indianola? I think I might get that question now more that I’ve been here for more than a year. Some days it’s great. Some days it stinks. Maybe don’t ask me on the latter days…at least if you’re hoping for a favorable answer.

On a walk with G tonight I think I have something figured out. If I ever become full-time here, I can look at houses more seriously. Is that a God-ordained conclusion (well…we’ll see how, where, and when He moves me)? Eh, not really… So I-town, as much as I’m trusting God to keep me here as long as He wants, I’m not looking to settle down here until I have hours to show for it. It’s logical in my head, if nowhere else…I’m not finding the work sitch to be bad here by any means…but I would jump at a chance to be full time if I liked where I was headed.

But for now I must flex my restless dreaming wings in the spot where God has me now. And hopefully express my life story in a light that sheds glory on its creator (God)more than its benefactor (me).

I suppose I should be glad for all the questions. Some of them include: what year are you in college? There will be a day when people stop asking that. It’s drawing ever near, I’m sure. 🙂

one of those days

It has been a long week. I had small hopes for a snow-related early dismissal.

Alas…I checked the weather. Whenever I do that, it ends up being nothing. 🙂 Glad for that, as I’m traveling to Ames this weekend, but still. This is me never checking the weather again…we’ll see how long that lasts, though.

Time to get ready for the high school show choir dinner performance. 

Peace to you,

ego boost

no doubt–I was playing my clarinet this morning at school (a band morning) when the kiddos were bringing in their instruments to put away for band later. During band while a student went to the hall with their director the kids started making comments:

When I put my instrument away you were playing the flute.

No, she plays the clarinet!

You were perfect! 

Yeah you’re really good!

I heard you playing the…the…the scales!

These comments really came from them. I’m old enough to know that the approval of ten year olds holds very little bearing in my confidence and self-worth, but it was dually encouraging to hear from some of the very same students later in the band lesson, “Oh, we are learning that in music” and actually described things that they’ve learned in MY CLASS that are appearing in their band music.

While I appreciate the flattering (and misinformed) compliments about my slow progress in returning to my instrument, hearing two references to separate music topics come up in the same band lesson tickled my ego immensely.

I know, I know…you mean the stuff in music class actually has relevance in other music activities?

Perish the thought.


55 minutes and a really full plate

It’s almost semi-annual. I’m putting the clarinet back in “clariknit”…today I brought my instrument to school to play before school. It was a good warm up for the day (you know, good breathing, diaphragm work, the wakefulness brought about by the feeling of your chin and cheeks bursting from months of not being used for clarinet playing)…but it lasted just 25 minutes before I thought I might lose the ability to smile. I went again after school for the purpose of getting more satisfaction of practicing in.

And the thing is, it’s not so much a technique-driven perfectionist thing. It’s more of a realization that being musical and experiencing musical things is my choice…there aren’t ensembles or playing opportunities right now, but I can play for me, and that’s worth it. I think teaching musicianship to little people (conducting, too lately) has given me this bug. I hope to retain it.

I went to a restaurant recommended by a friend in Des Moines tonight with a dear friend. It was called Baratta’s and is like a locally owned Olive garden, in that it’s all things Italian for similar prices (even had a 2 for $25 special like those chains), but it was quaint and charming like Noah’s in Des Moines, or a little place in Peoria we went to that had special Gondola sandwiches. The decor was a little outdated, but in mint condition. The main course (pollo penne) was excellent…a pesto sauce with chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, and penne. Our appetizer was pretty good, but a little different than I expected (toasted ravioli). The time spent was the real winner…only one other group was in there about as long as we were (and one of them was louder…kind of distracting), but I was encouraged as I caught up with the goings on in her life.

I totally faked not having a cold today. I mean, not fully…I still sneezed, blew my nose, and took Sudafed when I had the chance, but I didn’t mention it (well, here I am mentioning it), and it made for a more energetic than I felt day. That was cool.

Looking forward to everyday this week for one reason or another. Nothing else to report.


cook, pasta, cook

I am writing to you from my kitchen counter. To the right of the coffee maker and the stove. I am waiting on water to boil for an impromptu meal of pasta with a mushroom cream sauce. It’s sounding like a bigger deal than it is. Truthfully the mousse had a leftover half cup of cream in the fridge that needs to be used well and I figured the usefulness in a sauce (which I can hopefully beef up with some milk, but we’ll see) would be helpful. I am also wilting spinach, but definitely not until the pasta and the sauce begin rolling.

My grocery excursion was quite late indeed. I have a cold and intended to stay in altogether tonight, but found a bit of cohesion to be lacking with my ingredients. I have a lot of poultry (well, it’s chicken) in the freezer, a little bit of odds and ends in the cupboard (enough for a pasta and red sauce meal, but not substantial enough to serve to G)…and not much else to boast.

pasta’s on…so i sign off. good night!

Pass the tissues?

I just finished watching Courageous with G. Um…you name the emotion, it was present. To the max. I think I cried for 45 minutes straight at one point. And then it wrapped up with happier tears towards the end. But seriously. I was a mess of tears and snot and the annoying spit that shows up out of nowhere when you cry like that. Now I’m totally chapped. 🙂

I like that the movie was made in an effort to emphasize and teach what the Bible has to say about fatherhood. I found the over-done comic relief to be overly relieving :)…it was full of heavy ups and downs. Utterly predictable and yet good to the core. I missed hearing some of the “many times in scripture” Fatherhood is addressed…but I suppose they are all in the book that likely accompanies the movie like the Love Dare did for Fireproof (I have not read that…).

Today I had a workshop for music education (I’ve been grumbling and complaining, but wouldn’t you know that Philippians 2:14 was on my memorization chunk for today, which says:

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

 Verse 15 goes on to talk more about Paul’s involvement with the addressees (all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi with the overseers and deacons…so the church there) and how he hopes that in the day of Christ he will not have run or labored in vain with these people. But grumbling…questioning…those are everyday for me. What is there to talk about in the hallways besides that, right? I am expert in eliciting empathy and sympathy from people in common circumstances. I am challenged here to not do that.

Anyway, long story short, the workshop was okay. I got some more materials and some ideas with materials I already had, and got to have lunch with 2 of my music ed peeps from our district. It’s amazing how much younger the college students are getting these days :). The things which are so funny to them…aren’t funny to the whole group. I’m glad that they have camaraderie and can jest at their failings and struggles now, but I do hope that they are similarly encouraged in the field. I am ever more determined to grow in patience and musicianship for the sake of the hundreds of students who cross my threshold because I don’t want my own struggles to hold them back.

Philosophical for a Saturday night? Perhaps. I’ve got cookies to wait on and recovering from cryfest 2012 (Thank You dramatic movie) means lots of stewin’ on the couch (albeit a non-comfortable one).

In other news…I still think YOU should open a coffee shop in I-town. I will be your best customer. I will invite everyone I know to hang out and drink delicious coffee there. I will even be an employee. Anything. Today was a day for coffee shops and I just couldn’t go to the one here. I’ll show it to you if you come and “let” you decide on your own, but it needs serious help. Mostly in ambiance, but also in menu. (is this grumbling? Oh no! I meant to encourage you to go into business).

Besides that, I’m looking forward to FINALLY going to Zumba. It’s been more than a week. I’m getting antsy for physical activity, as it’s been too cold to enjoy much walking this week. If it’s going to be this cold, we should probably have more snow…just saying. Looking forward to worship very much as well tomorrow!


mousse on the loose

my roommate’s birthday is tomorrow and her special meal request was my Thai Peanut Chicken (somehow I’m going to need to show restraint and NOT add all the chili paste) and chocolate mousse for dessert. I haven’t made mousse before, and it falls outside of the realm of baking and into the realm of cooking. The recipe I used (from Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert) said to cook the custardy milk + egg yolks + sugar until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. I didn’t think much of it until I realized I’d been stirring the stuff for 25 minutes and it was as liquidy as ever. Plus it was kind of coating the spoon, but what constitutes as actual coating…I mean, you could still see the spoon, and the liquid was dripping off, but you could see where it had been dipped. I threw caution to the wind, strained, whisked, chilled, then whipped some cream and folded a lot (hopefully not too much) ending up with sadly only 4 half filled coffee mugs of mousse.

Don’t tell, but I didn’t use the greatest chocolate. I stood in front of the chocolate for baking and contemplated dropping more than $5 on chocolate for a dessert, but realized if I did so it was inviting some serious blunder and waste. So I stuck with my stash (now down to 12.66 bags of chocolate chips) of HyVee semi-sweet. It tastes like it, perhaps, but if I don’t mention it, I’m sure that it won’t get the attention. Perhaps I’ll try a round two at some point (though it’s a bit of an egg hog) with the remainder of the cream and see if I can make it fluffier this time.

I had little rhymers in kindergarten today. It was pretty awesome to see them make up variations for Down By the Bay (Did you ever see a ___________, [verb here] [prepositional phrase here] ___________, down by the bay). The other class kept rhyming with “dog” and “cat” but this class was rhyming with cow (my favorite…taking a bow and saying “wow”), pig (wearing a wig, naturally), and some other kind of tough rhymes. At least tough by my count…off the top of my head I’m lucky to come up with anything that’s very good.

Knitted socks won’t be done for tomorrow. One is done and drying. I blocked it using handy dandy sock-blocker #1 from K at Christmas. I’m going to wrap it somehow with an unfinished sock and an IOU for finishing. And then I’ll take back sock #1 and sock #2 and get to busy. But my weekend’s pretty full before that…so we’ll see.

Snow is on the way…but not here. I’m not embarrassed to relay my disappointment because snow doesn’t include shoveling or traveling. Recall that I live next to my grocery store and my property managers have been super about keeping sidewalks clear. Now if only the cars that are habitually parked along the curb opposite my garage would park in the parking lot 20 yards away…then it would be hitch free with snow (there is some packed, slippy snow/ice in front of the garage strip). I’ve debated leaving a note…slightly less costly to myself than an accident later, but for the time being hope the property managers will say something about it.

Now to make coffee for the program-tastic morning.

If this feature were to go out, I think I would feel a loss. There’s just something about coffee ready when you wake up that gets the day going well. I no longer put away dishes in a groggy stupor while waiting for the coffee…of course, the eliminated wait time is cutting down the dish putting away-age in the morning. Hmm. Another problem for another day.


FRIDAY tomorrow! Glad for it. 🙂 Peace.

hot. soup.

I had a fantastic bowl of chicken tortilla soup this weekend when I went to our pastor’s new home to do some painting. I longed for the recipe, but said NOTHING. Should have jumped on it. You snooze…well, don’t rub it in.

I did what any new-to-spicy kitchen-ista would do and google searched the recipe, trusting that google would provide the most popular recipe, which would naturally be the best tasting soup…aka the one I had this weekend. Not so much. But looking at the list I found that I was lacking some ingredients, so I actually went out and bought them, concluding this morning at an eerily quiet WalMart where I had gone to buy animal crackers for my chorus kids in celebration of the concert. I bought soup ingredients as well, including a product called “flavor boost” which is glorified boullion, as it turns out. Hopefully it’s “low sodium” label makes it worth the cost. I had a $1 off coupon, which should tell you it isn’t cheap. It was cheaper than buying the equivalent 8 cans of broth (technically less than 8 cans) at regular price. I’m trying not to let my cheapskate-nature determine what I eat so much…I won’t go all out and buy things of convenience…but if my soup calls for Rotel, I’m not unwilling to get it. Items like that for this recipe include HOMINY (the white stuff looks like molars, does it not?).

It snowed…but lightly. No snow days in sight. Which is good for the summer work situation (because more days of school now means more days of summer break later). Bitter cold again. It is January I suppose.

Knitting remains elusive. Really need to finish. Really cannot find the will to live  carry on while knitting this wretched ribbing pattern on socks. Hooweee. It’s not good.

Soup’s on!

programmable coffee maker

I have a house-fire phobia. I saw a friend’s house burn down 4 doors down from where I lived. The fear has been in me since before that (spotted a fire as a three year old in IC, just looking out the window with my sister), but it affirmed it. Living in an apartment, I don’t have much more easiness. Luckily we have sprinklers and alarms and the whole bit, but yikes. This all to say, I unplug my heating-element appliances very diligently. Toaster, check. Hair styling things? Ohs to the yeahs. Coffee Maker? As soon as the last cup is poured.

I’ve tried something out of the norm though. K suggested to me a better morning might happen if the coffee is ready when I am in the morning…so I set my programmable coffee maker to brew coffee at 5:54, approximately 6 minutes before I am finished in the bathroom with my very consistent 15 minute shower and 5 minute dress/brush hair time. It takes the machine about 6 minutes to brew 6 cups (the small cups…it’s about 24 oz. of coffee). Here’s hoping I got it right so that there is coffee at 6 and not at like 2:00 a.m., right?

In other words, God may have provided summer employment. NEVER would have seen it coming. NEVER would have remotely imagined it. He’s more than pretty cool to orchestrate my entire life, but that seems to be the only words that come to mind at this too, too late hour. I must retire [to bed, not from work…].


fast forward

Tonight was the first public gathering of New Heights Church ( and it was a good one. I have to say, a LOT has been going through my mind this weekend (and weeks and months before) about what the transition was going to look like, particularly how good things are happening at Westwind in Waukee, and I was torn to transition out of that (though I’m barely “in” there…I’ve deemed the drive too far to do more than 1 day a week).When I consider those things, it’s still tough, but truly I am thankful for God’s affirmation tonight. So many people united by the Spirit in one place. I love it. I love that people are willing to come here to see it happen. To think that I left a good place so unwillingly to come here, and now it is that good place. My heart has some shame for the attitude I’ve held.

And what of relational intimacy? I long to know and be known here…this church might be the vehicle for that. I pray it is.  I’m anticipating also the connection of service. I have been inactive in churches for about 15 months. Or more. October 2010 marked my last week in a D6 room at Cornerstone (and even then my involvement was pretty limited). I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. Enough talking about it, right? 🙂

I don’t have much more here. Some heavy duty knitting (stupid mistakes…taking them out keeps me from working further, sadly)…and a full week, but good stuff. Peace!