Pesto Fiesta!

Last week we had a small group of buddies over to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The Hs, PRs and Ks joined us but the other Hs were still out of town 😦 We made use of our Costco membership for the occasion, using tortellini, pesto, tomato sauce and Parmesan bought at rock bottom unit prices (still adds up at the check-out!)

Now that we have a house we can have dogs over without fear of our landlords or fellow residents complaining. The dogs were all very excited to get into the pack although a couple were still trying to figure out dominance issues.

Here is a picture of our wonderful friends:

20130816-173252.jpg

And here are the dogs (minus one- the Ks did not bring their doggy)

20130816-173521.jpg

For dessert I made a scrumptious Texas sheet cake. I thought about food blogging the process but was too busy licking the spoons to take any pictures. But here is our friend blowing out the candles!

20130816-173705.jpg

There’s nothing better than food, friends and festivities!

TV Shopping Saga

We bought a TV last weekend. First I heard a lot about plasma screens, HD, 3D, LED and LG. I never did figure out the difference between the latter two – but apparently plasma is “the best picture for the price.” We brought along our good friend (also named Chris) to give his expert opinion.

Apparently when buying a TV it is important to inspect the view from all angles:

20130805-220734.jpg

Make sure you bring a big car, as even a Dodge Nitro may not fit TV, stand, basalmic vinegar AND friend:

20130805-220754.jpg

Some assembly may be required:

20130805-222716.jpg

After setting up the TV and stand, it is important to try them out by playing Halo, even if you don’t have a couch yet:

20130805-222844.jpg

We had a great time and now we have a great TV. Next step – more furniture?!

Fair Fun

Last Friday, Chris took me to the fair. And we had a BLAST. We got wristbands so we could do unlimited rides and made good use of that. A few years ago I said I would never do rides again because they had made me so nauseous but Chris convinced me to try them again, and I enjoyed them!

We did the tower drop twice. I love this ride – you ratchet up, slowly, slowly, looking out over the sprawl of fair rides and RVs, coming eye level with a helicopter, filled with a growing sense of dread
DROP!
with no warning you plummet almost to the ground. I always scream.

The Ring of Fire (hanging upsidedown) and the Remix (whirling around) made me feel pretty dizzy and sick to my stomach, but I felt better after I ate some tamales from El Carambas (go figure!)

And it wouldn’t be a fair for me without a ride on the Ferris Wheel:

20130730-081741.jpg

Chris and I walked around the buildings and checked out the quilts, flower arrangements and the vegetables and fruits. In previous years I have sweltered during the fair, so this time I was wearing shorts and a Tshirt. Perfect for July, right?

Wrong! It was like 50 degrees. I was shivering and had goosebumps. We ducked into the commercial tent for warmth.., and ended up with a Costco membership!!

We ate a tasty Minneapple fried apple pie. So tasty!!! Then we stopped by the petting zoo on our way out, where Chris’s picture with a goat got “photo bombed” by a lady in pink:

20130730-081755.jpg

Afterwards we headed to Costco to enjoy our new membership, our “souvenir,” and gloat over all the things we could buy.

The fair is great for a number of reasons. It is a rare, once-a-year celebration of place, where farmers and 4H-ers mingle with the “cityfolk” and Rochester’s agricultural heritage is on display. In addition, the fair is perfect for families of all ages. Kids pet the animals and make sand art, young people ride the rides, older people listen to music at the beer garden, and everyone watches the tractor pull.

There are many other fairs in Minnesota, but the best fair is your own!

Attitude and Gratitude

Have you ever had an “attitude attack?” I sure have. Those mornings when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and just feel negative all day. When everything sets me  off. When  nobody can do anything right. When the world just seems bound and determined to upset me. I think I’m a pretty easy going person, but some days I’m just downright irritable. I try not to snap at people – my behavior should be within my control even if my emotions aren’t – but I’m not always successful. My emotions are like the weather, somewhat predictable but not entirely controllable. Circumstances, hormones, cloudy skies… everything contributes to a bad attitude.

But today I’m having a “gratitude attack.” Everything is making me feel grateful. And believe me it’s not the beautiful weather we’re having because… it’s not beautiful. It’s drippy and rainy and gray. OK, so I’m not grateful for the weather, but here are some things I’m grateful for:

1) My amazing husband who in addition to all the other wonderful things he does, like buying me cute clothes and cooking delicious lemon meringue pies, CLEANED the toilets. Yes, you read that right, he took the chore I most dislike (tied with ironing which I never do… but that’s another post) and he volunteered to do it and did it! To paraphrase Proverbs “a good and capable spouse who can find? He is more valuable than rubies!”

2) My family, as previously mentioned, is awesome and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in the next week (and then again in May and June!) I am thankful for them and for their kindness to us and their willingness to visit. And our family of friends, who hang out with us at all hours and are loving and involved and help us become better people.

3) Rochester. Yes, as I ran my errands today in what has become a dear and familiar town, I thought about what a great place this is. (See? God made me grateful for something I was questioning earlier!) Rochester is a wonderful place and deserves its own blog post.

4)  My car (which just got a clean bill of health from the dealer). I must confess I’ve never named my white soft-top Toyota RAV4 – no offense but I just don’t get the naming of inanimate objects. I don’t think my parents feel the need either, after all they debated nicknaming their white Toyota Previa “the beluga” or “the jelly bean!”  But my RAV nonetheless has a personality for me. It’s a bare bones, hard working, tough, reliable, scrappy (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) little thing. Despite being rear ended a couple times and having the hood fly up on the highway, we’ve done pretty good. I’ve had this car for 3/7 of my life and I’m thankful to have such a good car. It’s not the prettiest thing on the lot, but it’s solid.

5) My job. I really like where I work, and the different people I work with, and the job I do. I even enjoy the (occasionally crazy) pace.

Well those are a few of the things I am feeling blessed by, and next time I have an “attitude attack” hopefully I will have the sense to look at this list.

The Importance of Forbearance

Ephesians 4:1 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” (KJV)

For some reason I really heard the word “forbearance” tonight from the Holy Spirit. There are many other ways of saying the same thing. “Be patient with one another” or “bear with one another” but “forbear” just seems so much more serious. Perhaps because it has a sense of intention, as in foreshadow, forewarn, combined with the sense of picking up a burden and bearing it.

I think He reminded me of this passage because of something that happened at work. Sometimes even friends, coworkers, and family members that you love can drive you crazy. Perhaps they are doing something you REALLY wish they wouldn’t, or not doing something they SHOULD.

Perhaps you are in the right in the whole thing and you really want to point it out…

(and the thing is – if it’s a safety issue, you should! or a moral/ethical issue where you have spiritual back up, they should know about it! but if it’s a pet peeve…)

sometimes you have to back off and say, “okay. This is not part of a pattern. This one I’m going to let roll off my back because if we discuss this, it might lead to a big messy confrontation that will take time away from more important issues. This time, I’m going to forbear. In love.”

Some people might object. “You can’t bottle up your emotions! they will EXPLODE! all over the place!”

And I agree; if there’s a pattern you should definitely let that person know the danger.  But I find if I let the moment of frustration pass, often it will go away completely, and things will be even better.

If I am willing to be the lowly, meek, longsuffering one, God will meet me more than halfway with the patience to get through that situation.

You know why? Because He has always been the One forbearing with us in love. Because he is Grace itself.

He reached out to us even though we not only got on his nerves, we sinned all over the place! We are reckless, ridiculous sinners! He would have been justified to leave us out in the cold (or in the fire, if you prefer that image… being in Minnesota I find cold much more powerful this time of year…)

But he didn’t. He ignored our faults. He came that extra mile. He died for all of us. The more perfect don’t get better treatment; equal opportunity! He doesn’t look at our sin, he looks at our need for him.

And that’s really what we need to do. Look at the other person’s needs, not just our own.

“Right now I’m not going to think about the fact that you did X bad thing and said Y negative thing and did not help me with Z. I see that you need A, and I’m going to forbear X Y and Z and help you with your need, as God helped me with mine.”

Disclaimer: Don’t think I’m always very forbearing! I’m not. This is written out of the realization of my own struggles and needs. This is the lesson that God has put on my heart right now.

Hopefully it will speak to you as well.

Lunch in the Time Warp

12 hour shifts are timeless.

In all honesty, I would rather work 8’s. I quite enjoy my 3 8-hour evenings a week more than I would enjoy 3 12’s. Why, you ask? It comes down to quality of life. After a 12 hour day shift, I have maybe 4 hours of productive off time before I have to fall into bed and be ready for the next day. Whereas with 8 hour shifts, I have 8 hours, that’s TWICE AS MUCH down time, to read/run errands/do laundry/spend time with my husband.

(Sure, mathematicians, I get paid 2/3 as much but money isn’t everything…)

But when I am working a 12 hour shift, I really don’t mind it. I find myself in a time warp. I know I’m going to be at work all day (or all night) and I may as well accept it. The day streams by in its series of neat boxes; medications, treatments, vital signs, lunch, repeat. Before I know it, the next shift nurses are swarming like – something loveable and friendly that swarms – to get report and I can go home.

Today the time warp was nicely broken up by lunch with some float colleagues. As floats, we don’t see the same people day after day. We get to know nurses on different floors but it takes a little more effort to build friendships when both the people and the territory change every shift.

But coworker hang-outs are totally worth it! I can’t express how relaxing it is to chat and commiserate with other float nurses. We can discuss the idiosyncracies of our different floors, complain about switching between days and nights, and share notes on all our mutual float friends that we rarely see.

I am very thankful for my job because, from what I read, a guaranteed 30+ minute lunch is not common in many nursing environments. But it adds so much to job satisfaction. That chance to step away from the craziness of the floor, leaving my patients in another nurse’s capable hands, eat, drink, go to the bathroom, and talk… After a good lunch I can return to work refreshed ready to run my behind off for the rest of the shift without any problem.

Thank God for nursing lunch!

Valentines

Valentine’s Day 2006: a cute freshman took a friend and myself to Chik-Fil-A. He got us roses and bought our icecream, and we had a good night. Seven years later, he sits on our recliner after an excellent night of handbells, Greek food for supper and homemade Bananas Foster for dessert. I am so blessed and so thankful.

Regarding Lent: I was thinking today about how Lent commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his ministry, fasting, praying, and facing temptation. I think all of us have gone through a similar period at some point in our lives. Perhaps not a time of caloric deprivation and hair shirts, but a time of challenge and uncertainty and seeking. Like the 40 years the Israelites spent in their desert, depending on provisions and guidance from God.

In my life, the longest “Lent” was the 2 years I spent in North Carolina after graduating from college. I worked 3 jobs to pay my rent and lived a spare but bearable existence. I was seeking, figuring out what I was meant to do with my life. It may not look like much on my resume, but that time was essential to helping me figure out my purpose.

Not a comfortable time, but a necessary time. An important season of growing, changing, developing. Preparing. In my case, for marriage. For the Promised Land.

For Easter.