27 January 2011


How do you put into words that you just lost your grandpa? 
Technically, he's Ryan's grandpa but having no living Grandpa's, I've claimed him as my own. 
Ryan called me at lunch.  I missed the call by a few minutes and called him back starting the conversation with "what's up?"  His reply was "Grandpa died".  Yes, my husbands sees in black and white and would rather just know now.  Me, I much prefer for a warning before you drop the bomb. 
For now, I'm still processing it all in my mind.  My brain knows that Grandpa was 90 and ready to meet Jesus.  My heart aches for the loss.  Hopefully, within a few days, I'll be able to share a few words to tell you about the wonderful man I claim as Grandpa. 

25 January 2011

Sweetheart Supper

Plans are moving forward for this years Sweetheart Supper.  I'm super excited that the women's ministries in my church jumped on board and is providing SO much help.  For a recap from last year, check out the story and pictures here: http://tam4buit.blogspot.com/2010/02/sweetheart-supper.html

 If you're interested in doing this in your community, start small, enjoy the blessings and keep serving!

18 January 2011

Crunchy Rice

With the title of this post, you can imagine how the story ends, right?

A while back I prepared a bunch of meals as part of our once-a-month cooking. On this meal, I knew that I was missing a few preparation items which shouldn't be the case when they spell out what's needed for each recipe. Irregardless, I missed something. And apparently, it was more than one something. Since I was with Scott at his optometry appointment, Ryan started the meal when we left Decorah. He put the Jambalaya mixture I had prepared, added the missing bell pepper and bacon bits and tossed in in the oven. Forty minutes later I was home and pulled the baked jambalaya out of the oven. Uh, oh. It looked like there was crunchy rice on top of it!?!?! A taste test verified that it was indeed crunchy. Ryan wondered if I missed the beef broth since the mixture wasn't that moist. Ding-Ding-Ding! Cripes. Now it was after 6, and the meal was all jacked up thanks to me. The bottom of the dish had soft, smooth white rice. We mixed the two together, and headed to the table.

I'm so thankful for a variety of things in this. One is that my husband made no big deal of the situation, stirred the crunchy and soft rice together and moved on with supper. Reminds me of a song where the husband ate burnt supper for the whole first year. I'm thankful that my kids ate it up without complaint. And mostly I'm thankful that we are able to put meals in the freezer ahead of time and not worry about where our next meal is coming from.

10 January 2011

Final Day

It's our final day hanging out with the Dietz family. I Love when you can just hang out with friends and just go along with the program. Whether they be puking, be with meetings, disobedient children or any other option, it's truly a blessing to just hang out and live life for a few days.

Today, brought snow. Our thoughts of heading out tonight changed when we woke to this. Didn't we head South? Apparently we brought the mid 20 degree temps and the snow with us. Rather than playing outside in this white fluffy stuff:

the kids can be found entertaining themselves in one fashion or another. These two found the dress up clothes and posed for a few pictures:
These two just played in the floor with whatever toys they could grab onto for a few minutes:

And the oldest two, they did a great job playing together. However, I didn't get a picture of them. They stayed busy playing battleship and other kid games.
Meanwhile I lounged around all morning. As you can see, I didn't bother to get my kids out of their pj's. I guess I better go do that before bed time rolls around again.

07 January 2011

What Do YOU Think About After Visiting The Pharmacy

This post is written by my amazing and talented husband, Ryan. I love hiim dearly for the joy, humor, wit, and other fun he brings to my life! He really could/should have his own blog but I'm excited to have him share here!

It all started with a rock in my shoe, or so I thought. My steel toe boots have seen some better days but still have some life in them, despite what Tamara says. Anyway I noticed something abnormal in the sole of my boot and thought a rock or something must have wriggled down into the boot. I removed the boot, turned it upside down, and shook it vigorously. Nothing fell out.

Rumor has it that my feet may have a bit of an odor problem because of excessive sweat when I wear these boots. That means you take the health of your fingers into your own hands (no pun intended) when you reach down into my boots. I had no choice, that little thing was extremely irritating (kind of like a two year old after a couple of pixie sticks). I reached in hoping to dislodge the rock only to find that whatever was there was located below the insole. This didn't look good.

I pulled the insole up and fished around for the offending object, located it, and pulled it out. To my surprise a piece of rusted metal came out. That is never a good sign. Apparently these steel toed boots have some sort of shank that runs the length of the sole just below the insole. Not the greatest design if you ask me. Since moisture and salt do a great job of rusting out metal, and sweat is both moisture AND salt, that shank didn't have a chance in my boot.

Regardless I thought I had solved my problem only to put my boot back on and find out that the problem had escalated. Now instead of having two parts of a metal shank that were not aligned perfectly, I had two ends of a shank that were separated by over an inch and both were rubbing against my foot. After unlacing my boots again (made me wish I had zip up boots that looked like they were laced much like my friend, the county deputy) I was able to remove the part of the shank from the heel forward. That improved the situation some but still left one end of a shank rubbing against my instep.

After suffering through it for a couple of hours I decided something had to be done. I needed an insert! Great, where do you get one of those when the nearest Wal-Mart is 45 minutes away? The local pharmacy, it is only a brief 10 minute drive. If I did it right I could hit Subway for lunch. The day was starting to look up!

My clinic does some work with the pharmacy so the pharmacist and I have a good relationship. I walked in and was immediately greeted by the pharmacist, "What can I do for you today?"

"I think I have a bill, can you tell me what it is?" He proceeds to the computer and looks it up.


"Wow, can't believe you didn't sic collections on me for that. Probably wasn't a merry Christmas at your home this year with dead beat like me out there."

I handed him four ones and he opened the register to make change. I noticed immediately that he pulled a beat up coin out of the penny compartment and slipped it into his pocket. He handed my change over to me and I immediately noted that one of the pennies was slightly smaller and also darker in color. "Whoa, what kind of crap are you trying to pull here" I joked. "Are you trying to pass off a Canadian penny to me?"

He takes it back and looks at it a little closer, "I don't know what that is but it's the second foreign coin I've seen in that drawer."

He handed it over to me and I looked at it closer. "This is a Deutcsh Mark."

"Do you think it's worth anything?" he asked.

"I doubt it. Not only is it a penny equivalent, that's a dead currency. They use Euros over there now."

He handed it back to me and told me to take it for the kids to look up. I thanked him, he helped me find my insert, and I left.

I took the coin out of my pocket later and realized it was minted in 1905. That got me thinking about its history. This coin could have passed through the hands of the King of Germany before WWI, or a soldier fighting in the trenches may have sent it home with some other money. It went from being worth a fair amount in the early 1920's to being worth less than nothing in the late twenties because of German inflation. Adolf Hitler, or another higher-up in the Nazi party, may have handled this coin. Perhaps Albert Enstein used that penny to buy coffee when he was taking a break from his work on the theory of relativity. A Jewish German may have dropped it when they were being herded onto the train for Auschwitz, or an American GI may have found it along the road during the liberation of Germany. Maybe this coin had traveled across the ocean with a German immigrant when they came to America in search of a better life.

The story that little coin could have told really impressed me. After leaving the pharmacy, my mind wandered as I thought of the story this coin could tell. I shared my thoughts with Tamara and she added, "or it could have been hidden in a wall for the last 80 years and someone just found it." It's always good to have someone around who can keep you grounded, I guess.

04 January 2011

“Hell will be full of people who thought highly of the Sermon on the Mount. You must do more than that. You must do more than that. You must obey it and take action.” John McArthur. Quoted in A Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

This book has some wonderful thoughts. The one I’ve heard (I’m listening, not reading) over and over again is “are you open to God’s will for your life?” That’s an easy answer without even thinking about it. However, when you compare it to the actions in our lives, can we really say that I’m open to God’s will for my {changed} life? With that thought in mind, I can’t always answer yes to that question. Yikes.

03 January 2011

so thankful

I'm so thankful this morning that my house didn't burn down.
Simple enough statement right?  Of course, I have a few details to share.  I turned the tea kettle on this morning for our daily hot chocolate routine.  The water was hot before Ryan came downstairs so I turned the stove top to low.  When Ryan came down he asked if the water was hot and we went on with our normal routine and eventually left for work.
After dropping the kids off at mom's, I called the lawyers office to see if I could stop by to sign some paperwork.  Jerem said to give him 15 minutes.  Heading towards West Union, I thought I could just stop back by the house.  It would give Jerem the time he needed and I could grab the lunch I'd forgotten.
Boy was I glad I stopped by the house when I walked into the kitchen and the stove top was on with nothing sitting on it.  See, I'd gone outside the normal routine and turned the stove to low rather than off.  My bad.  Back on the road to West Union, I was so thankful that I stopped by the house.  My mind ran wild with "what if's" and I'm glad that today, I don't have to experience what happens when the stove gets left on low ALL day long!
I hope to see this house stands for another 100 years.

02 January 2011

A good start

Well, since we're two days into the New Year, I wanted to report that so far, so good on my recent goals. They're not New Year's resolutions, but rather recent goals I set up.

One goal is to exercise more often. This gives me some down time and some time to listen to a book or podcast or other challenging/encouraging message. By the way, I've been listening to A Hole in the Gospel. I'm listening through it once as I run and am eager to go through it again and make notes.

Another goal is to eat healthier. It's sometimes hard to do with my family dynamics. One encouraging thing is that Ryan is also interested in eating healthier since his clinic staff is in a Biggest Loser challenge with another nearby clinic. I spent a few hours yesterday hanging out with my buddy, Ali, and doing some grocery shopping. It was great to hear from her young perspective that I had a healthy food cart... that is until she saw the gummy worms! Now, after church today we'll head home quick to prepare all those healthy foods and put them in the freezer for the coming weeks!

May you draw near to God in 2011!