What’s Cooking?

Hello Friends,

Instead of focusing on how exhausting my life is right now, I’ve found something that energizes me!  Sadly, my new hobby doesn’t help me get my house cleaned, but it has put me into the kitchen a little more often – or at least dreaming about cooking and baking!

My new German blog isn’t all about cooking – it is so much more!  But I do share a recipe at least weekly.  So far, I’ve share my favorite Apfelkuchen (which I made just last weekend for my in-laws), a simple chicken schnitzel (which I tried last night), and now I am looking forward to doing some holiday baking.  The first Christmas cookie recipe I shared is Vanillekipferl, which are crescent-shaped almond/vanilla cookies.  Those will be made this weekend with my girls (if I can find some vanilla sugar at the grocery store.  You can make your own vanilla sugar, but it takes about 2 weeks for it to really get flavorful).

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All my German recipes can be found under the label “Leckerbissen” which is featured on the side bar under Favorite Topics.  There’s also a recipe right now for an Old World Dinner that features sauerkraut, sausage, potatoes, and bacon.  It is made in the crockpot and can feed a crowd.

So, even if you aren’t interested in Germany, speaking German, or my German articles, check out the FOOD.  We all like food, right?  No matter what nationality!

C.

 

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Over There

There are some fun articles over on the German blog:

Something for a laugh – Seriously?

and anticipation of the holidays and baking with some info about German/church holidays happening now:  Holiday Inspiration

See you over there ….

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Another Easy Recipe:

Over on the new blog:

Panko-Coated Chicken – 15 minutes – and eat.

chicken-schnitzel

 

 

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Fall Back:

In honor of TIME CHANGE tonight … some thoughts about TIME on the German blog:

http://kleinbisschengerman.blogspot.com/2016/11/are-you-afraid-of-zeitgeist.html

 

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For Your Reformation Day (10/31):

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On the New Blog:

a post about Reformation Day

and The Word for Sunday (from 10/30/2016)

 

 

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A Weekend Treat:

Boy, do I have a treat for you … literally!

On the “new” blog, I am sharing a recipe for German Apfelkuchen.

Click this link:   Ein Klein Bisschen German.

Have a good weekend!

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A Happy Project

I guess I am pretty good at having big ideas but never really following through on them …

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my life, my attitude, even my blog …  just contemplating my purpose in combination with God’s will – and what in the world I am doing with the few talents I have been given.

If I could live my life as I wanted, I think I’d go back to home-schooling my girls, stay at home, cook, clean, craft, putter around, be part of some co-op, tutor German students… and write.  But as I have to live life as it is, I have to work full-time right now.  Which really gets me down and overwhelms me because it conflicts so much with what I’d rather be doing with my time.

HOWEVER, I’ve decided since this is my lot in life for now … and GOD WILLING, it is temporary?!! … I need to find some outlet that gives me JOY!  I need to do something with my desire to write that isn’t negative and doesn’t just dwell on the mundane-ness that is my life right now – work, eat, sleep, repeat.

Granted, my girls are on “Fall Break” today, and I took the day off work (best idea EVER – although it makes me long for the days when I could just BE HOME …) and not only spent some time with my kids but started working on an idea I’ve had for a while … something that makes me happy and gives me a POSITIVE thing to share.

My idea was inspired – in part (though the idea has rattled around my head for a while now) – by the fact that my son is considering a double major in college:  international business and German.  He will be taking his first German class next semester and has a plan to continue over the next few years.  While I had no real influence on his decision, I am so incredibly pleased that he’d share an interest in our German heritage.

And so, I have started a blog in an attempt to give myself an outlet to share some of my best memories (my childhood and Army-life days that I spent living in Germany) as well as some of the vocabulary, culture, and grammar lessons that I used as a German teacher.  This blog will combine my love of Germany, my happiest of memories, and my German language skills and give me a positive “project” to work on.

If you’d like a peek at what I’ve begun, check out my link here:  Ein Klein Bisschen German .

And here’s hoping I am able to follow through this time …

 

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What Sustains Me Right Now:

There are days when I wonder what in the world I am doing with my life … Did God truly intend for me to just go to work, try to spend some quality time with my family, run errands, cook, clean, and go to bed (oh, and get in all the “alone time” that I require!! like 10:42 p.m right now!) – only to start all over again the next day?

I realize I have purpose – and in taking care of my family, I am taking care of what God has given me … but what else am I really doing with my life and talents?  Sure, I have organizational skills and can generate, reconcile, and fix medical claims … but that’s it?!   Was I just set aside because I failed miserably at connecting with people opportunities in the past?!  I know that’s not true – but I sometimes question what in the light of eternity I am doing.

Someone once said that being lonely isn’t being set aside, it is being set apart.  I am just here in NW Arkansas trying to figure out what in the world it is God has for ME.  And I guess this is it!  My “heart’s desire” is to do something completely different – to be able to use my German language skills, to study, to write, to travel … but for now, my life is here.

But most days I’m okay with that life.  I’m just thankful we’re alive and healthy … we’re safe and warm (or cool – depending on the temperature requirements for our climate control!).  While makes me think of Hurricane Matthew going on right now, too – devastation, poverty, losing your home … my worries seem so much less comparatively.

Here are the things that sustain my heart and searching soul these days:

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We’ve been without a church “home” since the beginning of June … and actually, really, for the last 3+ years as our previous church in NW Arkansas just never felt like “home” as much as I tried to embrace it.  This summer we’ve visited a variety of churches throughout our area – and we have settled into one church in particular in the last 6 weeks or so.  Not all of our family is convinced it is “the one” … but for now, the Sunday morning sermons have stuck with me all week, and I call that a good sign.

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It has been a long time since I’ve felt the need to eagerly write down sermon notes because I so needed to hear – and remember – what was being preached and that I felt the sermon actually applied to MY LIFE.  In this time of being “set apart”, I do think God wants me to just sit and listen to Him and His Word …

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The other thing that keeps me going is knowing that I do have FRIENDS out there somewhere.  There is someone out there who says, “Me, too.”  Or who at least knows me and understands me and gets where I am coming from because they were there as well.

And it does my heart good to spend some time with those people – even though it is not often enough.  It is good to see my kids interact with friends from their past, too.

And it is good to have a spontaneous road trip with my kids.  To have my son drive me around and sing silly songs from the radio together and to get an update on his life … to hear my girls interact (and bicker!) in the back.  To just have FUN instead of just having obligations.

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And then there are the occasional surprises.  After doubting – and regretting – my choice to change jobs this summer – only to have that confirmed by situations that come up there – then to have a day (today) when I was there while one co-worker gently talked to another co-worker about some struggles she was going through.  They are good people … I just don’t always see that side.  Another co-worker brought in a doll for Mimsy because she is letting her doll collection go.  Just a little reminder to give someone a chance – or a second chance.  I still regret my job change …. but it is a little less painful today.

And so, I continue to grasp my straws or the end of my rope or whatever you want to call it.  Looking for glimpses of joy in the ordinary.  It is there because God is there.

 

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HodgePodge-ing! 9/14/2016

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I wish I had more time to Hodgepodge … and tonight (Tues) I am making time to join Joyce and friends for some FUN blogging – no heavy, deep, introverted thoughts …. just answers the following questions:
1. What’s changed in your life, home, or community since your last birthday? 
My birthday is coming up in November.  Last November, I was pretty happy with my job as a durable medical equipment billing manager and part time pharmacy tech; it fit well into my life and family; it was pretty flexible and child-friendly (my 6 year old would hang out at my office or in the pharmacy if I didn’t have child care, etc) …
Then in May of this year, my job was down-sized – and I made a rash decision to pursue medical billing instead of pharmacy tech-ing.  By July, I was starting a new, full-time job with a regional hospital as a billing coordinator for their home health department.   This has changed my life and the dynamics how our home runs drastically.
Before I took this job, my husband gave me some advice when he reminded me that sometimes it is better to stick with the devil you know than face the devil you don’t.  And so, I continue to face this new devil every morning as I get up and drag myself to work.  I am thankful for a job because our family needs the extra income right now, but I have definitely confirmed that I am no career woman!
2. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like/listen to classical music? If so what’s a favorite piece and/or who is a favorite composer? 
I like classical music well enough; we have always had CDs in our house and occasionally listened to them.  My favorite was to listen to classical music is live and in a wonderful venue, which is something we experienced several times while living in Germany.  My favorite composer is Mozart and my favorite piece is “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”.
3. Besides The Bible, what’s a book that has positively changed your life, relationships, career, or perspective? How so? 
Introverts in the Church by Adam McVeigh has influenced my life greatly in the last 2 or 3 years.  It has helped me find my place and feel more comfortable as an introvert and a Christian.  A second favorite in this same vein is QUIET by Susan Cain.
4. I read (here) these ten hobbies will make you smarter…play a musical instrument, read voraciously, meditate regularly, work out your brain (puzzles, sudoku, board games, etc), exercise often, learn a new language, write your feelings down (blog, journal, just write), travel to new places, cook different kinds of meals, participate in sports actively
 
Are any on this list your current hobbies? Which hobby on the list would you be most inclined to try? 
I do read almost every night before bed and as much as I find time to … I do like to work crossword puzzles.  I attempt to write/blog/journal.  I wish I could travel more – and we used to travel a lot.  I’d love to travel more – if only for the sake of getting smarter.  ;)
5. What sports traditions does your family have? 
We mostly cheer for college teams – and mostly football.  We are quite diverse in our teams because of where we grew up – Tennessee Volunteers for me because I grew up in Knoxville.  Iowa Hawkeyes because of Dan’s roots.  And now, the Arkansas Razorbacks because our son is a Freshmen at the U of A.
6. In a few words, weigh in on the current football/National Anthem brouhaha. Keep it family friendly please. 
I hate it.  I see the protesters of the anthem as disrespectful.  I can’t go on much more … but as a member of a family who has been involved with the military, I just can’t even believe anyone would want to enjoy America but not at least stand to respect those who give them the freedom to do so.
7. Where do you have loads of patience, and where do you most lack patience? 
Loads of patience with strangers …. lack patience with my own family.  Sad but true.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Random:
Hormones.  They are evil.  That is all.  (said the woman who is going on 46)
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Back to School

This is such a changing season of life for me … maybe because we aren’t where I expected to be … maybe because we are RIGHT where God wants us to be.  Maybe He needs me to be solely dependent on Him because if my life were easier right now, I’d forget to ask Him for the Daily Bread that sustains us; I might not see His Hand so clearly in small things such as an unexpected windfall.  I’m not sure what God’s purposes are … I just know that I need Him.

As with most families, our lives seem to be a series of ups and downs.  One of the highs is that our son has started college – the lows are that he had no idea what he was getting into that first day!  The university here has started with its highest enrollment ever – over 27,000 students, most convening on the same campus at or around the same time.

Take, for example, the premium of parking – as a town student, Drew has to drive in to school and despite the fact that he bought a permit for the commuter lot, there aren’t enough spaces there to accommodate all the permit holders.  The very first day of class, he didn’t need to be on campus until after 11:00 a.m. which left him trolling the lot with a few other unsuspecting students, looking for a parking space – and as class time rapidly approached, he, at least, gave up and paid $5 to use the visitor parking garage.  Now he has to decide how to go to a late morning class – either go and hang out on campus for hours in the earlier morning or plan something else.  And what to do next semester?  Buy a more expensive, more convenient permit or continue the logistical nightmare of parking in the cheaper remote lot.

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(above image – a glimpse of campus with “Old Main” in the foreground)

Then once you park, you have to walk – many blocks – often uphill (the university’s Freshmen slogan is “HEADED TO THE HILL”) to get to the building where your class is held.  Then you have walk some more to get to the bookstore or the library or wherever it is you need to be.  At least Drew is getting A LOT of exercise!  That is one – actually fond – memory I have of my college days … walking all over campus in the flow of the hundreds of other students all around you.  For Drew, it is a little bit different as he says of the thousands of people he’s seen every day, he has seen only 2 or 3 people that he recognizes and only 1 he has actually talked to so far.  It is a sea of strangers, kind of like visiting a foreign city!

On the happier side, we found out this week that Drew has somehow merited another scholarship from a business college donor in the amount of $3000 towards his Freshmen year!  We are SO thankful for the blessings of several scholarships this year – and 2 of them that will seep over into the next years.  His goal to get out of college debt-free seems to be a little more realistic.

When I ventured to college 28 many years ago, things were so much simpler – even though I was pretty apprehensive as it was!  I remember what a blessing it was to secure an electric typewriter to share with a roommate so we could type our essays and papers.  Now, every student has their own laptop, and the campus has wireless access throughout as a matter of course.  My professors had moved on from blackboards to white boards with those smelly, erasable markers … the professors now have “online blackboards” on which to “post” their assignments and notes.

One thing that hasn’t changed a lot of the high cost of textbooks!  Thankfully, Drew was able to rent 2 textbooks this semesters – given that he returned them in good condition.  Well, today ruined that prospect because it rained.  Normally, if he didn’t need to be in class or a study group, he could have found shelter, but today he was going to have to get home to watch his little sister while our other daughter was on a field trip that extended beyond school hours.  And so, Drew ran through the pouring (and it was a gully washer!!) storm to get himself home after class – and in the meantime, all the textbooks in his backpack got soaked through!  Even the rented textbooks, which, of course, renders them un-returnable once the semester is over, and he’ll have to pay full price for them.  And it turns out Annie was back at school before dismissal time anyway!  One step ahead … two steps backwards, sometimes.

In any case, the first week of college is now complete!  Next week, Drew will approach campus a little smarter, better informed.  And I’ll be able to relax a little more as well.

I can’t believe my son is a college student.  At least I haven’t really had to “let him go” yet since he lives at home, although between his job in the evenings and mine during the days, I do hardly see him.  Then again, a boy needs to appease his momma sometimes, and we had lunch together on Tuesday after his early morning classes.  I love having a grown-up child – a friend, really.  He is understanding responsibility, making plans, and dreaming dreams.  It is fun to watch!

Meanwhile, we have the girls back at school for 2 weeks now.  Annie is doing SO MUCH better this school year, and in fact, there is a new girl, who has great potential of becoming a good friend.  Another creative, theatrical, old-time-TV-show watching, musical-lover, and vintage clothes fan – who also isn’t athletic!  Ha!!  In any case, I’ve enjoyed watching my Annie-Belle mature this summer – with the help of some good counsel and just the passage of time.  She is hopeful -and I too hope this comes to pass -that this will be her “best year yet”.

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Mimsy is in 1st grade, and she LOVES her teacher.  Her teacher has many years of teaching experience and is very nonplussed by having a room of 20+ 6 year olds.  She is – I believe – the only teacher in the elementary school who doesn’t have a co-teacher or aide (this may change as she’d like to have one but they just haven’t been able to find her a helper).  I think we’re going to have another great school year!

And so, time goes on … I’ve written at least 10 other blog posts in the last month of things I’ve learned and observed and thought about – especially in regard to us finding a new church this summer as well as what God is doing in my own heart.  But I haven’t had the liberty yet to push the “post” button on those thoughts, so for now I will contain them and just share what’s new with the kids here on my on-line journal.

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