Saturday, December 27, 2008

Recital Balls

It was a wonderful evening watching the culmination of all of the girls' lessons and practicing, (and my nagging).

When we walked in to the building, awonderful smell was coming from the kitchen. We hadn't had dinner yet (the recital started at 6:30, and I think my stomach growled through the whole thing!). The amazing smell came from the sausage balls that Mrs. West had warming in the oven.

These are wonderful--all the kids loved them. They are really easy to make. They are great for breakfast, appetizers, with soups, or as a quick snack. Better yet, they are virtually 'free' in diabetes-ese--or, made of mostly meat and cheese, which Sophie doesn't have to 'count' when figuring out her insulin (so she can have as many as she wants without my interferance!) I store a bunch in a ziplock bag in the fridge for quick snacks.

The recipe for Sausage Balls:

1 lb sausage

3 c Bisquick

3 1/2 c cheese

1/2 c milk


1/2 tsp ground rosemary

1/2 c parmesan cheese

Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl, take off your rings, and knead it all together with your hands. form into balls, place on greased baking sheet, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.


Monday, December 22, 2008


For the past few years, a certain red plastic bucket has been conspicuously perched in the center or off to the side during most of our family gatherings. I've moved it about a thousand times. It's there during Saturday morning cartoons, scripture reading, home-teacher and grandparent visits, and it invariably comes out during 'quiet time' on Sunday afternoons. Did I mention that I've moved it a thousand times?

But I don't complain. You see, I have a deep respect for the humble Lego--those stackable, snapable, bricks of plastic that have captured my children's imagination and povided hours of (mostly quiet) creativity for all of them. I would say that Legos have been the best value of all the toys we've ever bought. I know families that have passed down their Legos through generations without letting them go.

So, I'm glad that I remembered someone telling me about a Lego store in Orlando. I had heard that you could buy just the pieces you wanted, and be free from the confines of the ubiquitous "set", which is just about the only way you can buy Legos these days.

With Christmas just around the corner, I suggested that we might make a "quick stop" before beginning our treck home from Florida, and possibly score a bag of wheels (very valuable parts). Silly me.

The store was set in a lovely shopping area in Downtown Disney, filled with plenty of venues designed to relieve vacationers of their money. But it quickly became clear that the Lego store was everyone's favorite. Kids and their families would hang out there for hours - just as we did, maybe even bring a lunch over (we didn't).

I trooped my girls over to the Disney souvenier emporium next door to find an 'official' souvenier but they didn't last ten minutes. No one over there seemed to be having any fun. I smiled secretly to myself as we made our way back. Big business marketing tactics have always bugged me. Aparently they bug my kids too.
I sat and watched my happy kids and made a few observations about the Lego place:

It was set up for kids to play, get creative, and have fun!
There were amazing things to look at.
There were tons of pieces to tinker with.
It wasn't geared toward one gender or the other.
I didn't notice any blaring or otherwise annoying music.
There were no annoying sales 'gimmicks' or pressure.
The sales people really seemed to enjoy being there.
My kids would have been happy to stay there all day.
We didn't spend much money, but left feeling really satisfied.
I think Santa would approve.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Be Still

So, it's been a little while since I've felt like writing anything. I've been feeling like things around me are moving so fast, while I'm somehow standing still, either observing, or just not being able to keep up with it all. Not being able to process it all fast enough, I am like a deer in the headlights, and I freeze.

When I realized how much 'stuff' I needed to do today, not to make any great strides foreward, but just to acheive "not falling behind", I felt overwhelmed. Kind of like someone being dragged out in the tide, struggling and treading water fiercely in order to be able to remain in the same spot she was before.

And I got ready to write about being on a merry go round. And then I heard the words:

Be still, and know that I am God.
I found this tree outside of the Hinckley Visitor's Center on BYU campus last spring. It spoke to me, for some reason. I didn't know why. And I took photos from several angles before I found the right one. Look how old and gnarly it looks. Even though winter was ending and other trees and vegetation were greening up, this tree remained unchanged--standing there, looking so lonely and out of place. Sort of how I've been feeling lately.
Yet I saw the little buds on the branches. Still closed tight. Waiting...
So, I'm asking myself, in 'being still', do I just stop what I'm doing? Stop rushing around, taking care of this mess, that problem, this meal,, etc... As much as I might like to, I'm pretty sure that's not what it means.
No, I looked it up. The command to "be still" comes from the Hiphil stem of the verb "rapha", meaning "to be weak, to let go, to surrender". I'm thinking about this in terms of that old tree, and wondering if the tree is feeling frustrated at being the last to morph into full summer loveliness.
To be still is to give up trusting in our own power and turning over our concerns and worries to Him. Not in fear, but in full confidence of His love and power and goodness.
I wish I had a picture of that tree in its full splendor. Hopefully, one day Ill get one. But I see it in my mind as the "Sweetheart Tree" on Temple Square that was the gorgeous backdrop for my favorite wedding day picture. (Unfortunately taken before digital cameras!). And I hope that somehow I can have the patience and faith to let go and truly be still, and one day become something as beautiful.