Monday, August 11, 2014


I was thinking about our wedding last year. We had so many people there, all of whom knew how our first marriages had fallen apart and were rejoicing with us that we had found each other. 

Then I was thinking how all these people loved me and Troy, and we had done absolutely nothing to receive or deserve that love.

Then I thought about my first marriage and how I spent so much effort in trying to be exactly how he wanted me to be. In short, I was trying to "get" his love, to make him love me. And I failed miserably.

So then I made a few connections. No one can make you love them. You can't make someone love you. What you can do, is do things for the people you do love, not because they deserve it, but because you love them.

This is how God loves us; we don't receive His love, His grace, His gifts because we deserve them. He gives them to us because He loves us. Jesus didn't go to the cross for us because we deserved it. He went because He loved us.

When we think of doing for others, instead of getting for ourselves, that is how we are supposed to love.
This is how I try to love Troy. It is not always easy; having had one marriage fall apart sometimes makes me worry about it happening again. But when I try to do things to make Troy love me, I usually end up feeling foolish and inadequate. But when I act out of love for him, I usually end up knowing we have a solid marriage and that his love for me will always be.

This is why we can't try to "get" God's love. There is no way to deserve it, or to do anything to be "good enough." We can only act out of love for our neighbors, knowing we are already His beloved children. We love because He first loved us.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I have been reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to Claire and Natalie. They are both really enjoying it. Last night we reached the point where the Witch is going to kill Aslan. I was reading about how the crowd of Witch's supporters were kicking and hitting Aslan, and spitting at him, and jeering at him.

Claire: Hey! That's just what happened to Jesus!

Me: Yes, it is.

I continued reading. Claire let out little moans as she heard about Aslan being tied up, and dragged to the Stone Table, and mocked by the Witch. At the end of the chapter, she looked at me, horrified.

Claire: He didn't really DIE, did he?

Me: Yes, he did.

Claire (almost in tears): Ohhh.

Me: Claire, who did you just compare Aslan to?

Claire: Jesus.

Me: And what happened to Jesus?

Claire: He died.

Me: And then what happened?

Claire: Um, He rose from the dead.

Me: So...

Claire: But that's not going to happen to Aslan.

So I read the next chapter, where the Stone Table cracked and Aslan came back to life. Oh, Claire and Natalie were so happy!
After the chapter was over, and I was tucking the girls into bed, Claire pronounced, "The story of Aslan is just like the story of Jesus. Except Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days and Aslan was only on the Stone Table for a little while."
I am pretty impressed with Claire for recognizing the Story C.S. Lewis was telling, without knowing that authors do tell stories in such a way. And now I'm hopeful and excited for her to read other stories, and see that many of the best are, in their way, a retelling of the Story.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

More Coffee, Please

Ever since beginning what I like to call "The Program" (what most people would call "a diet"), I've noticed that my sweet tooth has diminished. But strangely. I still love my brownies and my mom's chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream is still a wonderful treat. But I ordered a grande (that's small right?) Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks a few months ago, and I could only drink a couple sips before I decided to listen to my cringing teeth that were telling me "THIS IS TOO SWEET!"
So how do I get my fancy coffee drink fix without too much sugar (and money)? By making my own, of course!
Now, I understand that part of what you're getting when you go to Starbucks or Caribou is the convenience. But I happen to have my own espresso machine that my parents gave me for Christmas a few years ago, and it's not getting much use. Partly because of the time involved, but also because I like the flavors of the drinks at a coffee shop. And that's not the easiest thing to manage at home.
So yesterday, being in the mood for a latte, I started brewing one. And then I went to to look for ideas for flavored syrups. Honestly, the website wasn't the most helpful. It did occur to me that probably, most of the flavors are a combination of simple syrup with an added extract. So I thought I'd try it.

Flavored Syrup
1 part white sugar to 1 part water
Combine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure all the sugar dissolved. While it's heating, add some of your flavor extract. Regular extracts, like you'd buy in the baking aisle of a grocery store, take more than the concentrated flavors, like what you'd buy from King Arthur Flour. I used about 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract with one cup of sugar and one cup of water in one batch. The second batch was 3/4 almond flavor (hey, I'm Norwegian) to one cup of sugar and one cup of water. The third batch was about 15 drops of Washington Cherry flavor to one cup of sugar and one cup of water.
I put about 2-3 tablespoons of syrup in a coffee cup, added 2 shots of espresso and about 1/2 cup of steamed milk. This morning's Mint Latte was amazing!

Now I just need to find a marshmallow flavor so I can mimic Caribou Coffee's Campfire Mocha and I'll be set!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Some Things Do Stay the Same

At age 6, Claire (fortunately) doesn't exhibit much of the same behavior that she did at age 1. Except for one sweet thing. Starting about a month after her first birthday (right after she was weaned), she began tucking her little hand just under the neckline of whatever shirt I was wearing when we would rock (it was bad if I was wearing a turtleneck). I liked to think she was feeling my heartbeat and wanting the closeness we had when she was still nursing. I never discouraged this behavior, knowing I would miss it when it was gone, and she didn't stop doing it.  And even now, at age 6, Claire's little hand rests right above my heart whenever we rock. Of course, it is less and less all the time now, but even sweeter because of that.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Back to Routine

The girls and I have moved back into my parents' house for the next six months, due to the fact that my lease is up in a few weeks and Troy and I don't want to live together before we get married. The move has been gradual and started back near the end of February. We've been living out of laundry baskets (because the dressers were still in Elysian), and I haven't really cooked or baked much of anything lately. I would cook on our usual Thursday nights that Troy would join us in Elysian, and I have made some cookies here, but otherwise, nothing.
This past weekend, most of our stuff got moved here. All of my kitchen stuff, including cookbooks, is here. Our dressers (and the girls' beds) are here. I feel somewhat more settled, but I still have quite a bit of work yet to do. I need to put more pictures up on the walls and organize the kitchen area Mom and I set up. 
I am definitely more in the mood for cooking. I'm making supper on Wednesday night, and I've been printing more recipes lately. That's where it's nice that it seems to be the current fashion on Facebook to post links to recipes. I have seen several that I'd like to make. I'm sure Mom will let me make supper much more often, too.