Friday, February 26, 2010

Green is my new favorite color

A few weeks ago Ben brought home a permission slip for a ski day with his class. It made me have to answer a question that had been looming in my mind for a few years: Will I ever ski again, or is it one of those things I used to do when I was young? Being courageous and all, I let Ben decide by asking him whether he wanted me to go. His answer? YES!! Hard to say no to that!

Yesterday was the moment of truth. I was more than a little nervous. My last ski outing had been about 18 years ago. And a few years before that, I had a ski injury that required major knee surgery. But my biggest apprehension was in not knowing over these many years, what had changed? I drove to the ski area early enough to have a good look around before the buses arrived.

I was relieved to discover one thing that had not changed:

So far, so good, I thought. I had been a blue square skier in my teens and twenties. Once I got my skis under me, I would be fine. I was nagged just a little, however, by the thought of skiing with ten-year-old first time skiers who may or may not take the time to observe the signs at the top of the hill.

Here's the synopsis of what happened:

1. The lesson they gave in the morning was fabulous, and the kids did AMAZING for their first time.

2. I still remembered how to ski. (Did you hear the huge sigh of relief?)

3. I kept Ben and a friend after the buses went back to school to ski for a while longer with another mom and two more kids.

4. The kids were pretty good about staying safe, and were happy on the green circle hills.

5. The other mom led us here to our first blue square hill. Looks pretty tame from the bottom.

Here's the view from the top:

Taken right after Ben disappeared over the edge. I had to stop and take a picture, because I. could. not. watch.

When I got to where I could see, Ben and his buddy were at the bottom. Happy. Thrilled, actually. The other mom was helping her kid after he wiped out. But of course, he was fine.

Is it just me, or are the blue square hills more like the black diamond hills of my youth? Regardless, when you see one called Lookout, there might be a reason for it.

6. Here are three kids who are eagerly awaiting their next chance to go skiing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Ten years ago today my mom left earth for heaven. One day she was golfing and playing cards on vacation, and the next she was in the hospital, never to regain consciousness. She died happy. It was like a lifetime ago. Actually, in my world, it was two lifetimes ago: the lives of my kids, to be exact. I thought I would honor her with some tens, in no particular order.

Ten things I miss about my mom:
  1. Her laughter
  2. Her listening ear
  3. Her spaghetti
  4. Her reassuring way, and belief that everything would work out
  5. Her delight in being with family
  6. Playing cards and games with her
  7. Celebrating with her
  8. Watching the Olympics and Vikings football with her
  9. Going to her house and letting her spoil us
  10. Of course, most of all, watching her enjoy her grandchildren

Ten (or more) things I'm thankful for about my mom:
  1. That she raised us in church and passed her faith along to us
  2. Her example of total commitment to raising her children well
  3. Her caring, supportive heart
  4. Her positive attitude
  5. Her determination to always do the right thing
  6. Her attention to beauty and detail
  7. The amazing amount of confidence she had in me
  8. Her love of music
  9. That when I got my first credit card she made me promise to always pay my balance off in full, every month
  10. That she gathered enough courage to come visit me in the Philippines

  11. That she lived long enough to be at my wedding
  12. That she lived long enough to see me become a mom for the first time
Ten things I wish I could ask or talk to her about:
  1. Her favorite memories from our years of growing up
  2. The highs and lows of her life as a mom
  3. What it was like parenting us through the teen years
  4. Her childhood memories of friends and family
  5. Is it just my imagination, or is Bethany a whole lot like I was as a little girl?
  6. Was I really that stubborn determined?
  7. Being sorry (but not too sorry) Acknowledging that my stubbornness determination might (possibly) have created some parenting challenges for her (and pointing out to her that it's gotten me a long way in life!)
  8. How she endured all those years of swim meets
  9. How thankful I am that she did
  10. The many things that never crossed my mind before I became a mom
Thank you so much, Lord,
for giving me an amazing mom.
She was, and will always be,
one of your most precious gifts to me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Your attention please!

Last week I thinking about Lent coming, and pondering how I might honor the season of preparation for Holy Week and Easter. I was raised in a church that observed Lent through special worship services, but not one in which there was any fasting required. A few times I gave up eating chocolate. Which led to the debate over whether red velvet cake had chocolate in it, and whether white chocolate was really chocolate. Because if I didn't HAVE to deprive myself in order to achieve self-denial, by golly, why would I?

These days I am part of a church tradition that de-emphasizes the season of Lent, but I am somehow always aware of my need to slow down and acknowledge it anyway. So I was asking the Lord last week what He would like me to offer him for Lent, and immediately two words popped into my mind: "Your attention!" I laughed to myself about how appropriate that was. If a person could be diagnosed with spiritual ADHD, they could use me as the textbook case. If I were not part of a Bible study and a couple of prayer groups, I don't know if I would ever settle down and study or pray with any attentiveness at all. My mind is constantly running in a dozen directions at a time. My attention it is, I decided.

Thankfully, my sweet friend Joy had just posted an idea about "Praying in Color" that I knew could help me find some focus. Lee and I were wanting to incorporate some ideas as a family, and Bethany gave us the perfect opening when she came home from school on Ash Wednesday saying that the fish they had for lunch was better than she expected. On the way to church we talked about what Ash Wednesday is, and what Lent is. The next night we started a web of everything we could think of pertaining to Lent, and put question marks by the things we wanted to know more about.

The thing I love is that the kids wanted to add some drawing and words of their own. It's so interesting to see which ideas grab their attention! We are exploring the ideas on the evenings we have time at home. Tonight it was the meaning behind the eggs, and what about doubt. We have used the additions to the poster as the basis for our prayer time.

Meanwhile, I am trying my very best to give God my attention. I am listening to music more, and trying to be aware of his presence with me throughout the day. I am taking more time for study, and for digging in a little deeper by taking the time to ask questions and explore the answers. I am also revisiting some thoughts that got put on the back burner some time ago. So far so good. I will keep you posted.

I want to know...what helps you to focus your attention on your highest priorities?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More flurries

But this time not snow flurries. Just a flurry of activity. The kids had a five-day weekend with the Monday holiday plus conferences, and we found plenty to do. My own schedule has been packed lately too, with volunteering at school and lots of other incidental things. I am trying to slow it down a bit to regain a better focus. More about that soon. First I needed to post the pictures of what we've been up to. After all, I'm the Closure Queen.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crystal beauty

The past two mornings we have been treated to some of the thickest frost I have ever seen. It's a stunning sight. It's one thing to look at it from the window--just white against a gray sky, sort of surreal. But when you look closely, the contrasts are striking.

To think of the minute details that our God put into his creation--the vast majority of which we can't even SEE--is mind boggling. To think of the thought and care and love and delight he put into each one of US is beyond amazing. Imagine the lengths he went to in order to secure an enduring relationship with each of us...

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

He is the ultimate Valentine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hard to be a Hater


It's not a completely popular perspective around these parts
(some people can't appreciate prolific precipitation)

...but please... this not perfectly picturesque??

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Vive la difference!!!

Wow, I just had an aha moment! It's been a year since I used my YouTube account. I've been uploading videos straight to Blogger because I hated the related video feature that would take you who knows where after you watched my video. But I hated the quality of my lefse video even more, so I decided to see if it was any better uploaded to YouTube. It was SOOO much better! Plus, YouTube is all different now. You can deselect related videos, and it doesn't have the annoying YouTube logo in the corner throughout the video. THANK YOU, YouTube! You totally read my mind!

Here are my last two video posts with new and MUCH improved know, in case you were interested:

How to Make Lefse
Introducing Kevin

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lefse making 101: the VIDEO version!

It's your lucky day! I hope you haven't been holding your breath waiting for me to show you how to make lefse. I know I promised a lesson a while back. Important things cannot be rushed.

A few things you should know:

1. Lefse (LEF-suh) is a Norwegian dish made from potatoes, and is sort of a cross between a tortilla and a crepe. It is positively yummy! Some people get it crossed up with lutefisk. Seriously? I would never do that to you.

2. All of the equipment you need for lefse making can be found here. If you are a great bargain finder and score some better deals, please leave a comment. We Scandehuvians are frugal. Since I use instant potatoes, you don't need the ricer you may find recommended as basic equipment. (A hallelujah would be in order.)

3. My personal lefse story can be found here.

4. You are highly unlikely to find equipment personalized with your child's name. That's just one of the perks of being me. (Or really, being Bethany.) Your child will probably not notice.

Lefse Recipe


3 c. potato flakes
1c. dry milk
1 2/3 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar

Bring to a boil 3 cups water and 1 stick margarine. Pour over dry ingredients and mix. REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT.

Next day:

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, cutting in with pastry blender or knead in with your hands.

Now heat your griddle to 425ยบ, and you are ready to follow these simple steps.