Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time-Warp Wednesday

Do you have one of those childhood memories that comes to mind with startling clarity?  Along with the sensation of splinters and really sticky glue?

When I was about nine or ten years old, my sister and I built our very own dollhouse.  This was not a dollhouse kit, mind you.  We already had a large dollhouse in our room that my mom or dad built for us.  It was a two-story home complete with furniture.  There was even a little bathtub that our gerbil liked to climb into when we would set him loose in our little pressed-wood mansion.  We would giggle as he scurried upstairs ... he was probably terrified and looking for a safe place to hide.

No.  This dollhouse we made ourselves from scraps lying around the woodpile.  We scavenged around my dad's toolshed and amongst the piles of pine and aspen under the lean-to looking for the perfect pieces.  Eventually we had enough to put together our own one room house.  With only our imaginations (and not a lot of architectural know-how) we set to work.

I remember sitting together under the old cottonwood tree in the side yard laboring over the walls and roof.  Our most challenging dilemma was figuring out how to keep the wood in place long enough for the glue to dry.  And when you are reeeeaalllly generous with the glue (because more is better, right?) you can be waiting a loooong time for it to dry.  One of us would be stuck holding the walls and roof in one place (probably Allison seeing as she is two years younger and I was a bossy-pants) while the other of us (that's me) would be working on the furniture.  Eventually the glue would be dry enough for Allison to let go and as long as there wasn't any wind, she could join me in the interior design.

Unfortunately, we were a bit lacking in the structural integrity department and on a regular basis we were forced to return to the construction of the house and reinforce it with ... you got it ... more glue.  I don't remember ever actually playing with the dollhouse, it was a bit too unstable in its construction to be a dwelling place.  But we never seemed to tire from trying to shore up the walls and roof long enough to dream about playing with it.

When we weren't fortifying the dollhouse, we spent our time rummaging through our mother's fabric scraps for the furnishings.  We had rugs on the floor, a table complete with tablecloth and wooden blocks covered in fabric for a couch and beds.  We were certainly resourceful!

The final addition to our original creation was the family members.  We raided our goody drawer in the kitchen for wooden clothes pins - and probably stole a few off the chip bags from the top of the refrigerator, too.  By dissembling the clothes pins, we then had two little people to live in our home.  We chose a variety of fabric scraps for their clothing and wrapped the colorful swatches around the pins, securing them with our endless supply of glue.  Some girls wore dresses while the boys had shirts and shorts.  To finish them, we drew little faces on the upper portion of the pin and added curly or spiky hair with our Sharpies.

Our own little "home sweet home":

I'm not sure where that half-an-A-frame house ended up, but I'm grateful for the memory of building it (and re-building it) with my sissy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Be Strong and Courageous

As we crossed the street, little Ashley trotted alongside me.  I pulled the stroller to a stop on the other side of the crosswalk and set the brake.  We had a few minutes until the big kids got out of school ... and a few minutes to catch our breath from the hike up the hill.  As I reached for the icy water bottle in the stroller pouch, Ashley shrieked.  I had inadvertently stepped on an old apple core.  Covered in ants.

"Hey, it's okay.  No problem, Honey," I said reassuringly as I nudged the ant-feast against the fence with the toe of my shoe.

I turned to Ashley. There was obviously a problem.  Her wide eyes surveyed the scene and then she screamed again.

One little ant had managed to leap from the apple to my shoe and was slowly making his way up my leg.

"Whoa, whoa.  Settle down," I said as I brushed off the detoured little fellow, "See?  He's gone."

Ashley was breathing quickly and her sweet little lips were quivering.  Ever since her run in with the wasps, she has been understandably a little unnerved around creepy crawlies.  She nodded her head, as if convincing herself that the danger had passed.

Then she went a little bonkers.

One minuscule ant was headed the wrong way ... crawling up her leg.  Oops.

Sweet Le-le screamed and started tap-dancing in place.  Her little legs were flailing around.  She flapped her arms wildly, sending her jangle-y bracelets up into the air, scattering across the sidewalk.  She was terrified.  (And so was that poor little ant.)

With great mommy-speed, I swept the unfortunate bug off into space and pulled Ashley toward me.  I hunkered down next to her and tried to console her.

"Sweetie ... it's just a little ant.  He didn't want to hurt you, he was just lost.  He's gone now.  You're okay."

I rubbed her back, wiped her tears and peered into her scared little eyes.  I explained to her that ants don't usually hurt you.  Some might have little pinchers, but most just lumber from place to place carrying things.  This tiny guy was ...


At just that moment I felt a sting on my foot.  And then another.

As nonchalantly as I could, I casually shook my sandal off my foot and brushed the little fiery ant bully off my foot.

Thanks, buddy.  You're really not helping things here.

So much for, "he didn't want to hurt you."  Apparently there is a bit of danger lurking everywhere ... even at the crosswalk.

How often have you found yourself in that same type of situation?

Perhaps a loved one comes up against something difficult, something scary, something new, something sad and you find that you must be brave for the both of you.  Then in the midst of your attempts to bring comfort and encouragement, you, too, are struck with a taste of their fear, worry and weariness.  

How do you remain strong and courageous in the face of of someone else's challenges?

More than anything, Ashley needed me to be brave and even though part of me want to tap-dance my way to an ant-free-zone, I needed to be calm.  My panic would have only escalated her already high-level of bug frenzy.  My rational response allowed her to lower her insect-threat-level back down to "code mellow-yellow".

I know that I won't always be able to sweep away my kids fears and worries - at least not as easily as thwacking that ant - but we can take these opportunities to learn how to deal with our problems sensibly ... while still validating their concerns.  We can see these little scary episodes as teachable moments and learn how to talk calmly, breathe deeply, pray quietly and remind ourselves of God's presence.

In the Old Testament book of Joshua, we read about a promise that God made to the Israelite leader, Joshua.  After forty years of wandering in the desert, God's people are finally preparing to cross the Jordan River and enter the land promised to them.  Most certainly a scary prospect.

Here's what God has to say:

7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

When I read this text, I am struck by the number of times God tells Joshua not be be afraid or discouraged or weak or cowardly.  I think of Joshua as being a great warrior, but it would appear that he had his own doubts and his own fears.  Not only is this astonishing to learn, but it's also comforting, in a way.  If God promised to be with Joshua as he set out to conquer the giants in the Promised land, then I know that He will be with me and my loved ones as we face our own giants.

Be they challenging friendships, hard life lessons ... or pesky little ants.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Building School Muscles

Over the course of the summer, I have enjoyed my 40 minutes of me-time in the morning.  I'm plugged into my iPod and walking up and down every hill near our house.  My three mile path looks a bit like a clover-leaf and while I'm not really getting anywhere, it's better than plodding away on a treadmill.

I have been pleased that my endurance has increased over the summer.  My first trip out in June was only a two-and-a-half leaf clover - with me turning back with tired legs and achy hips.  Now I'm up to a full four-leaf clover with a little extra oomph at the end which leads me to believe I need to find another hill!

One of my main motivations to roll out of bed each morning is the knowledge of how quickly my body can lose it's endurance.  Slack off for a week and I'll be back to a lopsided clover.  Of course, I'm also motivated by my weakness for chocolate.  I figure if I get my walk in early, later on in the day when my sweet treat is whispering my name, maybe I won't feel so guilty!  Maybe.

This endurance isn't something that comes easily or quickly.  It requires me to push myself a bit, keep walking a little further and recognize the benefits of this workout ... even when I'm nearing the top of hill #4, my legs are tired and my heart is pounding.  And my brain is contemplating turning around.

By keeping at it, I am succeeding in my efforts to build physical muscle.

In the same way, our kids have to keep at their new daily routine in order to build their school muscles.  And it's going to take some real endurance.

We started school on Wednesday of last week and by the next day, the kids were wiped out.  We call it Threshold Thursday ... the day of the week when the kids reach their limits and we teeter on the edge of some serious melt-downs.

Poor Ashley was suffering the worst.

Prior to our walk up to school to fetch the big kids, sweet Ashley had a full-blown sob/tantrum/fit.  Something about socks, a peach and a band-aid.  Pure misery.  As I helped her pull herself together, her tired little eyes told me everything I needed to know.  She was exhausted.  Two days of kindergarten can really take it out of you!

Her state of despair continued off and on throughout the rest of the afternoon.  And not to be out-fussed, the other kids joined in the fun.  At one point, Ashley was weeping in her bed, Aaron was wailing in the living room and Norah was following me around the kitchen whining.  Lydia did her part to add to the miserable state of our home with her own whimpering.  Lovely.

Gratefully, this season of weakness doesn't last forever.  I remember years past and the weeks of building up our endurance ... our school muscles.  Each day the kids are getting stronger:  able to pay attention longer, sit better, listen more attentively, participate more actively ... and come home happier.

Even as Mom I can't speed up this process.  There is not scholastic steroid, that I know of.  I can, however, encourage them to keep trekking and pray for my kiddos.  I know that God is concerned even with these little challenges of growing up.

 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

Maybe the bigger kids will achieve endurance in their school routine more quickly because their bodies and brains remember last year.  But I have confidence that Ashley will build her own school muscles ... at least by Christmas break.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Food for Thought

I don't know about you, but packing my kid's school lunches everyday is right up there with, umm ... well ... dusting.

School starts up again and there is the potential for me to feel a sense of dread.  A sinking feeling of, "What will I make?  And will they eat it?"  A grumpy attitude of, "How many lunches will I pack this year?  One hundred and eighty times two.... sigh ..."  A puzzlement over how to make this more of my kids' jobs and less of mine.

About this time last year, I posted our "Weekly Lunch Plan" that worked wonders for simplifying our lunch dilemma.  We're back at it again this year, only this time ... they are packing many of their lunch parts the night before!  Yipee!

In place of shuffling into the kitchen after putting the kids to bed and spending the next 20 minutes making sandwiches, dishing out yogurt and doling out crackers and treats, I am taking 2 minutes to scribble love notes, popping them into the "all ready to go" insulated lunch bags and ducking back out of the kitchen to hang out with my hubby.  This hand-off of meal-making has brought a smile to my face ... thanks kids!

Here is the "Weekly Lunch Plan" that we use.

Weekly Lunch Menu

The kids circle their meal choices for the week prior to my grocery shopping trip.  When shopping I try to keep in mind the food items that they have chosen, but they also realize that sometimes substitutions will be required.

The kids pack their sandwiches and sides the night before and slide their insulated bags into the fridge.  The next morning, they pull their mini water bottles out of the freezer (half frozen with ice water) and fill  up the remaining amount with their drink of choice.  These little water bottles keep their lunches chilled while also treating them to an icy drink at lunch time.  I scribble love notes on Norah's napkin, while Aaron has requested his love notes to be written on post it notes ... a little less mushy, I guess.

I hope this little tip helps you out ... because with this crew to keep fed,
I know I need all the help I can get!

First day of school ... Ashley's just a little excited.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Right? Right.

It's just a sticker, right?

Just a piece of paper with an adhesive backing that allows said picture to be stuck to nearly any surface.  With the greatest of ease, a piece of craft paper, a kitchen table or your van's back seat can be decorated with Dora the Explorer, Disney princesses, sports paraphernalia, glittery jewels, scratch-n-sniff circles and jungle animals!

But is it really just a sticker?

This week, we have had the joy of having an extra little buddy around during the day.  For a few hours a day, Ashley has enjoyed having a little person with whom to play.  Someone her size.  And her speed.

At first, I was a little anxious about having an extra friend - increasing our day-time movers and shakers to five.  How would she mesh with our kids and our routine?  How would our kids do with having to share Mom for a bit?  How would we keep things fun and happy?



My eldest daughter decorated five pieces of computer paper with each child's name and a few "starter" stickers.  After taping them to the pantry door, we talked about how we could add more bling and glitter to our pages.  Here's what we came up with ...

First time obedience,
Putting shoes where they live,
Washing hands before and after meals,
Using your manners,
Sharing toys well,
Saying sorry, and
Taking turns

... all earned stickers.  Pretty simple really, but where the kids saw fun and decorations, I saw sanity and harmony.  It's actually quite amazing how quickly even our little guest picked up on the perks of being "quick and snappy" in obedience ... especially if she got to choose a, "birthday cupcake sticker" to add to her page.  In fact, today when she arrived, she plopped her shoes and socks next to the front door (where the live) and then ran to me excitedly, "Mrs Rogan ... can I have a sticker?!"

You bet!

At the end of the week, she'll get to take home her work of art ... and a little preschool pride in a job well done here at the Kellum house.

A big rainbow balloon stuck to an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of white paper ...

It's just a sticker?  Right ...


Prompt #4 ~ Write a post that begins and ends with the same sentence.   Or at least the same words. :)

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time-Warp Wednesday

Last week we went back about nine years.  This week we're going back about two months!

Today my kiddos headed to school ... backpacks on, lunches packed, new clothes on display and big smiles!

I was glad to see them getting back into the school routine, but quite honestly, I wasn't ready for them to be back in school full-time!  (Neither am I ready to adhere to someone else's schedule, make endless school lunches, hunt down permission slips or talk my kids through homework.  Sigh ...)

We had a great summer filled with fantastic family memories, but it was so filled that I feel like we just got into our "home for the summer" rhythm!  Oh well ... as my mom says, "Change is the only thing that doesn't change!"

Here are a few mini-Time-Warps for this week.  Just a few steps back in time to help us remember what a great summer vacation we had!

First up ... Aaron, the Barracuda!

Look at that form ... he's sooooo long!

When I scheduled swim lessons back in June, I had it in my head that we would do that "way at the end of summer."  Imagine my surprise and shock when August 1st rolled around and we headed to the pool! Aaron turned into an actual barracuda this summer and it has been fantastic to watch him fall in love with being in the water.  And under the water.  And jumping off the high dive heading toward the water.  And cutting through water as he dives off the board.  As a fellow fish, it is thrilling to me to see my little barracuda find his fins.  Now to keep his gills good and wet the rest of the year so he doesn't forget all he learned!

Next, we have Norah, the Gymnast!

She was worn out from the smiling!

As soon as Daddy bought the plane tickets for our trip back to Denver in June, Norah was focused ... on flying in a real actual plane.  Oh.  And doing that state meet, too.  Our little cartwheeler knocked our socks off with her poise and grace.  Mommy couldn't help blurting out a, "Yeah, Norah!" when she jumped onto the podium to receive her medals.  Even though she had repeatedly asked me to not embarrass her, somethings just can't be helped!  Her passion for gymnastics continues to amaze us and we are excited to see what God has in store for her.

Now, we have Ashley, the Biker-Chick!

She's fast.  And silent.

For the past several years, Ashley has loved biking in the culdesac.  Unfortunately the sheer noise of her training wheels rattle-trapping around on the asphalt made it one of my least favorite outdoor activities. You could barely hear yourself think, much less have a conversation while she rumbled around the bend. But now ... now ... our little Ashley is pedaling around the neighborhood.  Silently.  And even more happily.  She graduated to being training-wheel-free exactly three months from her fifth birthday.  And has been biking ever since!  This little boost of independence is just the beginning of the many new adventures that await Ashley this year in Kindergarten!  (insert mommy-sniffle and teary smile here)

Finally, we have Lydia, our Daredevil!

She has a need for speed!

This summer we had an amazing week in Wisconsin Dells with Brett's family, where we spent the entire time laughing, talking, eating and ... well, staying wet.  We discovered a new side to Lydia as we enjoyed water park after water park.  Our little Liddy loves to slide, loves to go fast and loves for that fast sliding to dump her into a pool!  She was thrilled to play on the water park playground and zoom down all the slides to which she could climb.  And even a few slides she couldn't get to on her own.  On one particular occasion, Mommy was waiting at the bottom of her favorite slide - she even had her frequent-slider pass for this one slide - when she disappeared into the soggy throng of kids.  As I stood there, waiting and waiting and beginning to wonder and waiting some more, I tried to spy her purple suit in the sea of suits.  She was with Aaron, so I wasn't worried, but ... still waiting.  Then to my complete surprise I watched her zoom down the big-kid green slide!  Oh, my!  Aaron came down right after her and as I hauled them both out of the trough at the bottom, my boy answered my quizzical, wide-eyed question with, "She wanted to Mom, she just needed help getting up there."  And so it begins!  My little adventurer is certainly going to keep me on my mommy-toes this year!

A little proof that we had a great summer ... now to prepare for a great fall, too.

(I guess I need to figure out what to do with last year's school papers now, huh?)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Choices, Choices, Choices

Strangely enough, the aspects of being a stay-at-home mom that drive me the most batty are not the "Mom" parts.  It's the "home" parts that wear me out!  More often than not, when I find myself the most frazzled or in the grumpiest funk it's not because the kids are coo-coo (although that has been know to happen), but it's because I'm filling my role as mom ...

and cook
and nurse
and maid
and mechanic
and toy-fixer
and chauffeur
and social planner
and nutritionist
and bug exterminator
and laundress
and veterinarian
and game show host
and computer programmer
and plumber
and gardener
and librarian
and seamstress
and teacher
and ... and ... and ...

you get the point.

If I could just be Mom, that would be awesome!

I could ...

... read a book with my kids - as sloooooowly as they wanted to.  Looking at each and every little doodle on every page.

... sit at the table and eat lunch with my littlest - as she breaks each and every pretzel into twelve pieces and nibbles on each one with a sip of milk in between.

... perch on the front step with my girls and blow bubbles.  Hundreds and thousands of bubbles until I run out of air.

... stretch out on the floor for a cut-throat game of UNO.  And the winner would be the best of five games ... or maybe seven.

... snuggle on the couch amongst the pile of arms and legs to giggle through an episode (or two, or three ...) of Phineas and Ferb.  Listen to my kids laugh and sing and mimic their favorite lines.

... flop on the futon with my boy and listen to his detailed recount of the most recent Lego Star Wars battle (complete with sound-effects and slow-motion instant replay).  And actually follow along with what he's saying.

... impress my girls with my incredible ability to stay in the lines while coloring.  We have a wide variety of coloring books to choose from: Disney Princess, Strawberry Shortcake, Zhu-Zhu Pets and more!

... relax with letting my kids be my first priority and not cringe at the thought of not crossing anything off  my To-Do list.  Productivity is not to be confused with purpose!

... just be.

I know veteran moms are telling me the truth when they say that these years with my young children are fleeting.  I know in my heart that the laundry and dishes and weeds will still be there after I take time to play with my kids.  I know for a fact that my kids can tell the difference between when I'm distracted and focused, absent and present, disinterested and interested.  I know that God has called me to be a mom to my kids.  I know that I love being a mom.

But what do I do with the other demands of my time?

I would love to have a pat answer here, but I'm not sure that there is perfect equation for making all these roles balance out.  And what about the evil tyranny of the urgent?  Often the "have to's" crowd out the "want to's".  I guess it comes down to simply making a choice.

A choice to be intentional.

I will make a choice to take the time to organize my life ... and make sure to schedule play time.

I will make a choice to say "no" to projects and engagements that just keep us busy ... and invest our time in the activities that truly matter.

I will make a choice to say "yes" to my kids when they invite me to join them ... and truly be present in their presence.

I will make a choice to not fill up any available moments with pointless busy-ness ... which leads me to my next choice.

I will make a choice to limit the aspects of my life that are time-drainers ... nothing sucks up time like dinking around the computer.

I will make a choice to ask God each day, "What do YOU have on my to-do list?" ... and then stick to His plan.

I will make a choice to embrace God's plan for my day ... and ask Him to show me the sacredness of each task, no matter how mundane.

I will make a choice to slow down ... breathe deeply ... stop moving.

I will make a choice to come back to this list and remind myself of the need to make a conscience choice. Tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next.

What do you think?  How do you balance the many hats that you wear?  
What simple choices can you make to find more peace in the role God has given you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy To You!

Little Lydia loves her Leap Frog alphabet show, "The Letter Factory".  In just 30 minutes (watched ad finitum) she has learned that the, "'F' says fffff, the 'F' says fffff, Every letter makes a sound, the 'F' says fffff."

Now go back and sing that line about the letter "F" to the tune of, "The Farmer in the Dell" .... and you'll be singing it the rest of the day!  And you have 25 other letters you can substitute to keep you busy.

But, Liddy being Liddy has to spice it up a bit.  She finishes off her "fffff" with her rendition of "Happy Birthday" (Happy to you!) and then with an additional "fffff", "fffff's" out her imaginary candles!  Much to the delight of her older siblings, "Ha, ha, hee, hee!  Do it again, Lydia!"

And, because she loves when people cheer her on, she does.  Again.  And again.

Along these same lines, I wanted to say a quick thank you to all my readers here at Snapshots!  You are my cheering squad, and because of your encouragement, I keep coming back to the keyboard to write something new.  And I marvel that you keep coming back to read it!

I realized a few days ago that yesterday was my blog's first birthday.

(Happy to you, Snapshots!)

I was quite surprised that an entire year's worth of words had spilled out into the blogosphere to be read by you.  There were a few other feelings, too.

I am ...

  • Grateful for the opportunity to put my thoughts down on paper.  (It gets pretty crowded in my head.)
  • Joyful at being able to chronicle a year in the life of the Kellums.  (And some weariness at seeing how busy that year was.)
  • Thankful for my readers.  That's YOU! (And my commentors ... it's fun to hear from you, too!)
  • Honored that God has allowed me this place to share about my life with Jesus.  (This is one of my favorite parts!)
  • Humbled that any of you experience any encouragement, delight, help, or even a good laugh because of my mere ramblings.  (This is by far the the scariest part!)
  • Astonished that God continues to give me inspiration in my writing. (I have yet to run dry of things to write about ... oh, to have the time to get it all on paper!)
  • Tickled Pink about the opportunities I've had to write! (My words, face and name at in-courage and in the MOPS MomSense Magazine, July/August 2011 ... eek!)
  • Inspired to keep writing and looking for opportunities to "put myself out there". (Okay ... maybe this is the scariest part!)
  • Overwhelmed by the sheer thought of how to reach more readers with my blog.  (I'm a pretty quadrorillianth fish in a GINORMOUS pond of bloggers!  See the -Ism to the right.)
  • Challenged to refine my writing and hone this gift that God has given me to invite others to pause, ponder and celebrate life's littlest moments with me.  (I would love this blog to be a bench where you feel free to come and rest a moment.)
  • Curious about what else God has in store.  (What will He use little ol' me for?!?)
  • Excited about the next 260 posts in the coming year!  (That's a nutty number!)

It has been a fun year!  Here are some of my favorite posts:

What if my kids never learn table manners?
What if my life had a soundtrack?
How motherhood transformed/revamped/remodeled my life.
How can we see real, actual, tangible change in our lives?
What a day in the life of Mommy actually looks like.
The "bummer dude" parts of motherhood.
Keeping motherhood fun ... mostly!

Thanks for taking the time to read again ...

I'll be here all week!   Don't forget to tip your waiter.  :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Food for Thought

My son recently summoned me to a little culinary challenge.  To make the perfect omelet.  Or should I say, with my fake, Monty Python French accent, "Zee purfect ohmlet.  Oui, oui."

Fortunately, the omelet turned out better than that last line. :)

I experimented with my technique a few times, until Aaron declared, "You should put this on your blog.  I don't like it,  I LOVE it!" (My kids' new favorite catch-phrase!)

With that stamp of approval, I give to you:

The Kellum Omelet
(Tasted, tested and endorsed by my boy.)

2 eggs
2 T. cheddar, shredded
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Smidgen of butter

Whatever you want on the inside:
Lunch Meat
Cheese (shredded cheddar, swiss, jack or feta)
etc., etc., etc.,

When using veggies, I like to saute them first.  Dice the vegetables into small pieces and toss them in the skillet with a little butter, salt and pepper until toasted.  Set these aside in a small bowl before proceeding with the egg portion of the dish.

Set the saute pan to medium heat and add a smidgen of butter.  When the butter is melted, swirl it around the pan to get a thoroughly coated surface.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs and add just a teaspoon of water.  The water will help the eggs from drying out when you are cooking them.  Add half the cheddar cheese to the eggs and mix well.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan and turn the pan from side to side to make sure the egg completely covers the bottom of the pan.  You may also want to use a rubber spatula to evenly disperse the cheese.  Then don't touch it again!

Let the egg cook for about 1-2 minutes until the edges are set and the egg has poofed up a bit.  Sprinkle  filling along one half of the egg and top with the remaining cheese.

Slide the rubber spatula along the edge of the egg that doesn't have the filling and gently fold this over the top, creating your typical moon-shaped omelet.  Let this sit for one minute and then gently turn it over with a pancake turner.  Cook for one more minute.  Sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper and serve.  Voila!

This has been a fun way to freshen up our egg breakfasts.  A little something different than regular ol' scrambled and sunny-side up ... and if you fill it with veggies, you end up with a great start to your day!

Easy-Peasy Omelet

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dress? Or Couch?

As I stood at the counter of the doctor's office, I greeted the patient with a smile and asked, "How can I help you?"  We chatted for a moment about her appointment and I took her card to update her insurance information.  As we wrapped up, she paused and said, "I love the fabric in that shirt."

I looked down at my outfit, a floral top with a denim skirt, and started to thank her for her compliment.

Then she finished her thought.

"I would like a couch made out of that material."

.... crickets chirping ...

"Uh ... thank you?"

A large hulking piece of furniture?  Out of my shirt?

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time I wore clothes that I mistook as fashionable instead of furnitural.  The most alarming instance was my Junior Prom.  That's right ... Prom.

I chose a lovely dress (you guessed it, with a floral pattern).  It had a sweet, heart-shaped neckline and the sleeves hung off the shoulder.  The skirt fell to my knee in a flouncy, fluttery way.  There were large burgundy roses, pink peonies and lavender sprays surrounded with lush greenery.  I was wearing a veritable garden.  And that was before I put on the corsage!

Imagine my surprise a few months later when my mom, sister and I walked into a home furnishing store and saw not only a couch, but also a chair, ottoman, shower curtain and set of bathroom accessories all made out of my prom dress.  Well ... not MY prom dress, which was stuffed in the back of my closet at home, but you get the idea!

... stunned silence ...

Mortification set in almost immediately!  Followed quickly by hysterical laughter.  Because that is how I deal with awkward moments.

Recently my mother resurrected that dress (and all the teenage angst and anxiety associated with it) and brought me a little gift:

It looks great even
paired with my yellow gloves!

Now I can scrub my dishes, mop the floor and cook up dinner for my gang all while feeling pretty in my prom dress.  And this IS my prom dress ... the much more practical Mommy-version! :)

I guess that is the BEST way to deal with an awkward moment ... sew it into something that will bring a smile!  And a good laugh!


Prompt #3 An awkward moment.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Time-Warp Wednesday

Coordinated clothing?  Check.
Recently bathed?  Check.
Hair combed, curled, clipped and gooped?  Check. Check. Check. And check.
Fully snacked?  Check.
Coupon in hand?  Check.
Ready to smile?  I sure hope so!

As we headed out for our portrait sitting yesterday, I covered as many bases as humanly possible and hoped for the best.  And we ended up with some terrific snapshots!

I look forward to sharing my favorites with you soon, but this is a Time-Warp post which means that we need to take a trip back a bit.  About nine years, to be exact.

As I watched my Aaron-Boy smile and pose for the camera - showing off his great hair and flashing his fabulous smile - I experienced a quick time travel trip.  I was transported both forward to his senior year and backward to his first portrait sitting ... and my heart hurt a bit.  

This is dangerous business for me to reminisce the past and contemplate the future simultaneously.  Never mind the risk I took of being splinched.
(Award yourself 10 points if you shuddered appropriately!)

His casual stance and easy smile was so grown up.  I could see him nine years from now, smiling into the camera with such poise.  And the result will make girls giggle and swoon ... embarrassing him to death!  He is so handsome on the outside with a beautiful heart on the inside.

But I could also see him nine years ago ... my baby boy, smiling readily and wooing the photographer.  The only difference was his size.  And his baldness and toothlessness, of course.  He was a deliciously chubby and cheerful little fellow!

You can't help but smile along with this little person!  Whatever his age or size!

I am loving who my Aaron-boy is growing into.  We are watching him navigate this challenging course of being an almost double-digit boy and he's handling it wonderfully.  Of course, we have moments of rough sailing and sometimes his ship is in need of a little attention (sinking in dirty clothes and Lego pieces while the captain is absorbed with Tap Zoo), but we are excited to see the ways he is maturing and growing in wisdom.

I'm not ready for him to be a Senior in high school and I'm immensely grateful that I have nine more wonderful years to enjoy him here at home, but if the next nine years zoom by at the same speed as the last nine ... I'm in trouble!

Here's to capturing as many of Aaron's wonderful grins as I can and enjoying this sailing voyage on the way to his being a grown-up wise guy!

With plenty of prayers along the way ...

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
 Store my commands in your heart. 
2 If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying. 
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.

Proverbs 3:1-3

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mercy Me

Apparently on one particular day last week, my big girls were malfunctioning.

Shorting out.  Over-heating.  Needing to be re-booted.

Normally Norah and Ashley get along rather well.  With each other and with me.  On this day, however, we were experiencing all sorts of issues.  Whining, wimpering, warring and weirdness.  It wasn't pretty.

I put up with it for a bit, attributing their wonkiness to a lack of sleep, a need for a snack, too much time together or maybe needing some Mommy-time.  But then they each crossed that final line between "Maybe you're just tired" and "What's your deal?!"

As they barged into the kitchen, shoulder to shoulder, each trying to yell out their complaint louder and more plaintively, my patience wore out.

"That's enough!  Both of you need to pick out a job from the Great Learning Box.  Now.  Quietly.  If I hear one more squeak out of either of you, you will have another job.  Got it?"

Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle ... from them.

Grumble, grumble, grumble ... from me.

I turned back to the sink full of dishes and practiced my deep breathing, rolling my head from side to side like Rocky Balboa coming out of the boxing ring.

They sheepishly retrieved the striped box from the counter and reached in.  Norah pulled out, "Straighten the laundry room" and headed off to tidy up shoes and re-hang sweatshirts.  Ashley carried her folded piece of paper to me, lower lip pouting and eyes downcast with little tears still hanging on her eyelashes.

"Can you read mine, Mommy?"

I slipped my hands out of my yellow rubber gloves and unfolded her little scrap.



More than anything in the world, I wanted to tell my little missy to reach back in there and pull out a good one!  I wanted her to have to pay a little for her complaining.  I wanted her to experience a bit of a sting for her whining.  I want her to have a consequence that would cause her to think twice before she tattled again.  I wanted punishment, retribution and justice.  All because of a little five-year old's skirmish with her sissy.

But that little piece of paper has a big job.  It's there to remind me that God doesn't require punishment, retribution or justice of me when I make a mistake.  When I whine, complain or grumble, God is rich in His mercy towards me and in the same way He calls me to extend that same mercy to those around me.  Especially my brawling babies.

There is a specific verse from the Old Testament book of Micah that addresses this.  In chapter three, God instructed His prophet to write this:

8 He has shown you, O [Mommy], what is good. 
   And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
   and to walk humbly with your God.

(That "Mommy" reference is my addition, just FYI.)

Even though my little LeLe had broken a house rule (or two, or three, or four, or five ...), this was a teachable moment for me to extend to her mercy and show her a first-hand example of what God's mercy looks like when we come to Him seeking forgiveness.

God does not hang my mistakes over my head, punishing me every time I miss the mark.  If I come to Him in confession, He has a beautiful promise for me nestled in Psalm 103:

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
 13 As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

Because of Jesus' willingness to die for my sins, I am extended mercy in place of punishment when I do the wrong thing.  And He has compassion on me because I am one of His children who honors Him.  This is wonderful for me to receive ... but not so easy sometimes for me to extend.

I endured a fierce two-second struggle standing at the sink staring at that word: "Mercy."  Punishment or grace?  Judgement or forgiveness?  Consequence or mercy?

... sigh ... again ...

"Okay, Honey ... please go upstairs and play quietly.  And please try to be good to your sister when she's done with her job.  Thank you."

That was a tough one.  It would have felt more satisfying, perhaps, to see her spot cleaning the floor as her consequence, but it was a bit more godly to give her mercy instead.  And her teary smile and hug was a lot more fulfilling than a clean floor.

Of course, being a five-year old meant that before the end of the day she was back at the Great Learning Box and I still got my kitchen floor scrubbed, but not before she saw a little bit of God's goodness and mercy from her Mommy first.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Growing Up Is Hard to Do

We are currently in the throws of some serious growing up here in the Kellum-household.  In light of the daily challenges of being big-ger, I've decided that growing up is not an easy task.  Not for the kids and not for Mom.  I kinda wish there was a theme song that could help us to ease into each episode of growing-up-ness.  That would make it a bit more fun, perhaps.  And at the very least we could dance our way back to happiness!

I'm thinking of a little re-make of Neil Sedaka's "two minutes and sixteen seconds of pure pop magic" ...

From LYRICSMODE.COM lyrics archive

But around our house, it might go a little something like this:

(We all know Lydia can do this first part... 
with a few "dee, dee, dee"s thrown in for originality.)

Doo, doo, doo down doo be do down, down
Come on, Come on,
Down doo be do down, down,
Come on, Come on,
Down doo be do down, down,
Growin' up is hard to do.

Don't take my sippy cup away from me
Why can't I have it until I'm three?
If you box 'em up then I'll be blue,
'Cause growin' up is hard to do.

Remember when I sipped my milk at night
Snuggled in my bed and wrapped up tight
If you say "no", I'll scream at you,
'Cause growin' up is hard to do.

They say that growing up is hard to do,
They were right, I'm afraid that it's true.
Please tell me that there is an end
To all this crazy growin' up
So we can find our smiles again.

I beg of you, don't suck your thumb.
After five years, do you think it's numb?
Come on baby, you've gotta be through
'Cause growin' up is hard to do.

They say that growing up is hard to do,
They weren't kidding, not for my crew.
Please tell me we'll figure it out
Fear of showers, chores and Kleenex
Makes this Mommy want to shout!

I beg of you, don't stomp your feet.
Please try to make your room look neat.
Come on kiddos, pick up your shoes,
'Cause growin' up is hard to do.

Doo, doo, doo down doo be do down, down 

Come on, Come on, (Let's load up the van ...)
Down doo be do down, down, (Sit in your seat ...)
Come on, Come on, (Don't make me sing it twice ...)
Down doo be do down, down, (buckle up, let's go ...)
Growin' up is hard to do.  (Whew!)

I'm quite certain that with that little pop sensation bopping around inside our heads, we could more happily tackle the following:
  • 27 potty-breaks before finally falling blissfully asleep,
  • Needing 4 picture books in our dark room at bedtime,
  • Being responsible for our very own messes - made with our very own hands,
  • Letting go of the broken, half-missing, forgotten toys, mementos and mystery items,
  • Sitting happily at the table for 5 minutes of talk-time, even if you inhaled your meal in 1.3 seconds,
  • Thumb sucking (or finger sucking, if the thumbs are "unavailable"),
  • Sippy cups, baby silveware, bibs and plastic dishes ... moving on to "human" plates,
  • Showering ... and using soap,
  • Tackling chores with happiness (whistling while you work, optional), and
  • Realizing that there is a whole world out there that doesn't revolve around us!
Nope ... growin' up isn't for wimps!  But we're gonna make it!  Especially now that we can sing our way through!

Doo, doo, doo down doo be do down, down 
Come on, Come on ....

Friday, August 12, 2011

Food for Thought


That is a common refrain in my kitchen.  I realize that may come as a bit of a surprise because typically such yummy things come out of my kitchen, but there are moments.  I'm afraid I'm a bit of a, "hmmm, I don't have that, but I have this" sort of cook.  I've also been known to say, "That's a silly step, I'll just dump it all in one bowl ... oh.  Maybe not."  Periodically I also feel that some of those measurement things (teaspoons, tablespoons, etc.) are a bit of a pain.  Let's just eye-ball it.

This behavior does drive my husband a little batty, but seeing as 99.6% of the time, the meal still turns out tasty, he has grown to over look it.  But it's the times when the recipe turns out a bit wonky that he asks, "Did you follow the recipe?" and I have to sheepishly respond with, "Sorta."

This is one such recipe.  My mom made these delicious Butterscotch Rolls many, many times over the years during my childhood.  It was always a special morning when she would take the time to make the dough, roll it out and sprinkle the delicious nuts and raisins over the sugary goodness before rolling them up, cutting them and popping them in the oven.  It's like a sweet, ready-this-morning version of cinnamon rolls made with a biscuit dough instead of yeast bread.  One of my favorite breakfast delights!

I have made it right a hundred times ... but I've also made it wrong enough times that Brett is a little cautious about the first taste.  And for good reason.

Over the years I have ...

  • halved the recipe, but forgot to halve the shortening, resulting in greasy little hockey puck rolls.
  • forgotten the brown sugar resulting in pasty, decidedly unsweetened raisin rocks.
  • miss-measured the milk resulting in a batter that couldn't stand up to the jelly roll technique and ended up just cut, scraped and chunked into the pan before baking.  Ugly, but tasty.
  • selected the wrong seasoning out of the cupboard.  FYI:  Chicken Jerk is not a good substitute for cinnamon, unless you want your breakfast rolls utterly inedible due to the spiciness of your sweet rolls.

In spite of these disgusting mistakes - I keep making them.  It just goes to show that I'm a full-blooded optimist, "This time I'll get it right!"  And in this same spirit of positive thinking, I thought I would share with you this recipe ... and do my best to transcribe it correctly!

Butterscotch Rolls
(My mom's recipe ... from way back.)

Biscuit dough (enough to make 16 biscuits)
1/3 cup butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans.)

You can use any biscuit recipe, but this one is the best:
2 1/4 cup flour (I use half white/half wheat flour.)
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt
2 T sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 egg

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter until the shortening is well distributed.

I love my pastry cutter, hence the sproinged wire parts!

Add the milk and egg and stir with a fork just until the dough is combined.

Don't mix more than this, or you'll have tough dough.

Flour the countertop surface and turn the biscuit dough out.  Knead the dough just a few times, adding flour as necessary, if sticky.  Roll the dough out into a rectangle - about 1/4 of an inch thick.  Apply a thin layer of butter over the entire surface.  This will help the sugar stick to the dough.  Next sprinkle the brown sugar in an even layer, followed by the raisins and nuts.  Sprinkle the entire surface with cinnamon.

Be as generous as you'd like with the fillings.

Now roll the dough up as you would a cinnamon roll.  You may need to use a floured spatula to slide under the dough and separate it from the countertop.  Once you have it assembled, mark off nine rolls, cut and place spiral side up in a greased 8x8 cake pan.  Be sure to space them apart as they will plump upon baking.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  We like to top ours with a smidgen of butter or softened cream cheese.  Delightful!


P.S.  I double checked the ingredients ... you're good to go!

Butterscotch Roll

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Funny Feet

From my seat in the balcony, I could just barely see my mom standing on the risers on the floor below.  To get a good view, I had to sit up perfectly straight, tilt my head to the left and peek through the two rows of heads in front of me.  But that was okay because we were there for the music.

My sister and I had arrived a bit early to the performance so that my mom could warm-up with the rest of the choir.  When we found at our seats, we were surprised to see a few friends from school in the same row.  The four of us sat quietly as the musicians and choir members ran through a few pieces of Handel's Messiah.  Once or twice I could see my mom peering up to the balcony where we were sitting, keeping a far-away eye on us.  Knowing that we were still under our mother's watch was the encouragement we needed to behave well.  That and the other three hundred white-haired people in the audience.

As the opening number began, we were drawn into the music and the voices.  This was familiar music for us and so we enjoyed following along and listening for the parts that we really liked, while happily tapping our feet.  As the concert progressed, of course, we got a little wiggly.  Try as we might, it's a hard thing for middle school-aged kids to keep still that long.  I'm quite certain that was the main reason for the eminent un-concert-like behavior that was soon to come.  That and the warning my mother had given us previously:  watch out for the male soloist's feet.

As we sat together in our row, I heard a few muffled titters from the friends a few seats away.  The guilty little laughs that tend to sneak out when you least want them to.  Curiosity got the best of me.  I leaned forward in my seat to see one friend with her foot upon the back of the seat in front of her.  The woman in that seat had long curly hair spilling over the back of the seat and this friend had her flip-flopped foot under the hair.  She was wiggling her toes and smiling into her hand.  That was actually bad enough to get the rest of us grinning and smothering a few giggles.  And then it got a tad bit worse.  The woman behind the flip-flopped friend leaned forward in her seat and in a voice loud enough for us all to hear declared, "You'll get your toes tangled up."  She shook her head in that tsk, tsk way which only added fuel to our juvenile laughter.

One peek down at my mother in the choir was enough for my sister and I to pull ourselves together and re-focus on the music.  My mother claimed later that she couldn't see us, but at the time I was quite certain that my mom's x-ray vision could also see long distances quite clearly!

As I read through the program, I realized that there was only a few more concert pieces left.  We were almost done with having to be so very good and quiet.  Unfortunately, it was also at this moment that I recognized the soloist for the next piece.  It was the guy with the mysterious feet.

I sat up straight in my chair and peered over the heads in front of me as the gentleman made his way to the platform.  The music began and within moments his amazing voice filled the church.  He seemed to sing from deep down, past his diaphragm ... all the way down to his lumberjack shoes.

Yes.  The final soloist stood there in his black tux and belted out the Hallelujah Chorus while standing in brown construction boots with red laces.  It was too much.

As the song reached it's final crescendo, I sat hunched over in my seat shaking with laughter and trying (almost) successfully to stifle the hysteria that was fighting for escape.  I've never been so glad for the end of a performance so that I could let loose some of my giggles during the ovation and then jump to my own two little feet and get some fresh air!


Prompt #5:  Write about a time you laughed at an inappropriate time.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Time-Warp Wednesday

This week's photo Time-Warp was brought to mind recently due to my mom and sister's repeated trips to Durango.  My mom is eight weeks post-op for a lumbar fusion and she's doing great!  In fact it has be an absolute delight to see my mom come through this tough healing process and find her sense of humor and zest for life intact; and to see my sister reveal an astonishing ability to provide tender and thorough caregiving for days on end ... even in the face of ER visits, blood pressure fluctuations and a periodically impatient patient.

You ladies are incredible!

They are headed back to Durango this Friday for another round of x-rays to insure that her fused parts are still fused and to hopefully begin her physical therapy.  And a (gentle) pat on the back from the surgeon for a job well done! :)

Hence my Time-Warp to a previous trip to Durango ...

My sister lived in this mountain town for a spell and during one of our visits, we wandered around downtown and then stopped off for a meal at a little pizza joint.  I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but I remember the novelty of a concrete floor and my children sitting UNDER the table and scribbling with chalk.  And everyone was happy.

On the way back to the van, we strolled past a statue that caught the kids' eyes.  For obvious reasons.

I mean, who doesn't want to be a jolly, nimble and muscular as Puck?  

Nana - we are praying for your full recovery and hoping to see you dance a little jig soon, too! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What's In a Name?

I am reading through J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" with my boy.

Uhm.  Correction:  We were reading "The Hobbit" together, but then Aaron finished it and now I am just trying to finish strong.

Who knew that this classic would grab my son by his knobby little shoulders and take over his life for two weeks?  I'm absolutely thrilled (it sure beats the anime-addiction he was suffering from this Spring), but at the same time I was a bit surprised by his voracious appetite for the adventures of Middle Earth.

For those of you frightened off by the thousands of pages to push through in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this novel is the prequel.  It tells of the first adventure of dear ol' Bilbo Baggins - headed off with a company of dwarves to recover their ancient treasure from the fierce and fiery dragon Smaug.  And it's the perfect starter book for those who love tall tales told well.

Tolkien is at once a storyteller, poet and master wordsmith.  He weaves a story overflowing with terrible danger, daring rescues, three foot-tall heroes and monstrous villains.  The world that he creates is strange and vast ... and as real as the neighborhood outside my front door.  Within moments of entering into Bilbo's home under the hill, the Shire, Mirkwood Forest and the Lonely Mountain come alive with strange creatures, ancient histories and beautiful languages.  And at the turn of every page, we are transported to Middle Earth and join Bilbo and Company as they trek along in search of their treasure.

Without giving too much away (because I know that you are going to read it now!) I wanted to share with you a passage that I read last night.  Bilbo is fulfilling his role as Burglar and with the help of his mysterious ring that turns him invisible, he has snuck down into the lair of Smaug ... for the second time.  The first time he snitched a golden goblet and Smaug, being your typical dragon, knew exactly what was missing the moment he awoke from his evening nap.  In his fury he hunts down the Thief but because of Bilbo's own craftiness, Smaug is left searching in vain.  During Bilbo's return to the dragon's lair, we read this curious interaction:

"Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of the reality, O Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamites," replied Bilbo.
"You have nice manners for a thief and a liar," said the dragon.  "You seem familiar with my name, but I don't seem to remember smelling you before.  Who are you and where do you come from, may I ask?"
"You may indeed!  I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am he that walks unseen."
"So I can well believe," said Smaug, "but that is hardly your usual name."
"I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly.  I was chosen for the lucky number."
"Lovely titles!" sneered the dragon. "But lucky numbers don't always come off."
"I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water.  I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me."
"These don't sound so creditable," scoffed Smaug.
"I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles.  I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider," went on Bilbo beginning to be pleased with his riddling.
If you are familiar with the story, you know that Bilbo gives Smaug much more than his name.  He recounts his adventures over the past eight months including his terrifying trip in the grips of a giant eagle, his trip down the elven river atop a barrel-raft and, of course, his pitch-black battle of wits with the horrid Gollum, during which he won the mysterious ring.  This "riddling" reveals more of Bilbo's identity than just his mere name would.  These descriptions reveal what his life has looked like.

In the same way, I often find myself forgoing the use of my given name for titles and names that describe my life.  On any given day, I go by ...
  • Sunny-side Up Egg Maker, 
  • Plate & Pot Scrubber, 
  • Super Sock Sorter, 
  • Toddler Wrangler, 
  • Pig-n-a-Poke Dresser, 
  • Hair Snaggle Detangler, 
  • Sibling Referee, 
  • Eat Your Veggies Broken Record,
  • "Bummer Dude" Discipline Giver,
  • Minutest Achievement Cheerleader,
  • Action-figure Itty-Bitty Gun Locater, 
  • Don't Bite Me Floss Helper, 
  • Cuddle Up Book Reader,
  • Get Back Into Bed Shepherd, and
  • Back In The Saddle Again Mama.

To name a few.  And there are many more that are not related to Mommying.

Of course, these titles don't actually describe who I am, but what I do.  From these titles you can get a pretty good picture of my day to day life and what my role as Mom looks like.  You can also infer from this list of names my love for my children and my passion for creating a haven for my family.  So while I typically shy away from labels, these monikers reveal more about me than my birth name would.

We can do a similar name study of God and discover His role in our lives and His enduring character.  Here are a few titles to get you started:
  • Redeemer ~ Making Us New (Job 19:25)
  • Bread of Life ~ Our Sustainer (John 6:35)
  • Counselor ~ Guide & Help (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Faithful & True ~ Dependable (Revelation 19:11)
  • Abba ~ Our Daddy (Romans 8:15)
  • Great Shepherd ~ Protector (Hebrews 13:20)
  • Rock ~ Our Foundation (1 Corinthians 10:4)
  • Author of Life ~ Our Beginning (Acts 3:15)
  • Immanuel ~ God With Us (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Living Water ~ Satisfying Our Spiritual Thirst (John 4:10)
  • Potter ~ Molding Us Daily (Isaiah 64:8)
  • Vine ~ Our Life Line (John 15:5)

With every page in God's Bible, we see another description of our Heavenly Father.  In much the same way that Tolkien wove together a picture of Bilbo and his warrior spirit, God paints us a picture of Himself.  Through God's Word we discover His strength, love, compassion, mercy and power.

Unlike Bilbo, however, God is not a creation or a character in a book.  He is real and Faithful & True.